Vulture plays in-your-face thrashy speed metal and there are no two ways about it. The aesthetic of the 80s campy horror mixed with the cheesy influence of 80s speed metal bands like Razor and Exciter and NWOBHM stylized album arts places Vulture into a disposition of the era bygone. Thrash revivals are nothing new as we’ve seen in the last decade or more, but with ‘The Guillotine’, the German band caught a number of eyes, enough to be signed up by Metal Blade Records for their sophomore album ‘Ghastly Waves & Battered Graves’.
Before we talk about the music, I would like to mention the perfection that is the album cover. Metallic/chrome plated logo, leather gloves, a knife, a graveyard, blood – if this is not a microcosm of the maverick early 80s metal, I don’t know what is. Coming to the music, it’s all standard fare. Turbo-riffing, shouty vocals, and old-school solos create what has been the classic sound of the late 70s/early 80s. Did I mention the 80s yet? When compared to their debut, you could say that this album is paced a little better. Instead of a bunch of similar sounding interchangeable tracks, we see some variations and maturity in how the tracks splice with each other.
Vulture takes no time to steer into overdrive as the opening track “Fed to Sharks” sets the pace of what’s to come. The short horror synth intros to these tracks add a bit of color and oomph. The vocals are some of my favorite things about Vulture. Sometimes convoluted and varied, L. Steeler’s vocals stand out on most tracks. On tracks like “The Garotte”, the vocals almost save the track from the not-so-interesting riffs. “B.T.B.” has more anthemic and NWOBHM-esque guitars and is probably the stand out track for me from the album.
After a couple of lackluster tracks, “Tyrantula” (loving the cheesy title) brings life back into the album as cruise into the Motorhead zone. This energy spills over onto the slightly more patient affair of the galloping anthemic track “Stainless Glare”. I would love to have more of this. If you thought you were enjoying the pace of the album, “Murderous Militia” makes you feel like you were casually trotting so far. The tracks darts through everything with murderous rage and the shredding accompanying it carries the album to its peak energy. To close off, we have the zealous cover of Thin Lizzy’s track “Killer on the Loose”, and it gels perfectly with the rest of the album.
‘Ghastly Waves & Battered Graves’ is what it intends to be – a collection of the sound of the spirit of the most glorified, and rightfully so, a decade in metal. There isn’t much that Vulture brings to the table with regards to building on this sound or creating something unique. You’ll find a bunch of really fun tracks amidst other on par ones. This one is definitely for nostalgia rejuvenation.