December 23, 2013 by Beldrac
Vulture Industries – The Tower
Genre: Avant Garde Black Metal/Progressive Metal
The end of the year is near and it’s high time I flex my fingers again. This album certainly was one of the highlights of 2013 and before “The Tower” I’d never heard of Vulture Industries, so perhaps a very brief introduction is in order. Hailing from Bergen in Norway (as if you didn’t already know that, it’s probably one of the most famous, certainly notorious Metal towns) the band plays what can broadly best be described as Avant Garde Black Metal. Yup, I thought of Arcturus too and you would certainly not be disappointed if you count yourself among the rabid and starved fans. My first impression upon listening to this album was that they sound like the bastard spawn of Garm-era Arcturus and Nick Cave.
Do I have your attention now?
“The Tower’s” title track and the opening lines of “The Hound” are prime examples of this loose and crude comparison I made early on while still finding my way into the album. The vocals have the bombastic nature of Trickster-era Arcturus, mixed with the dark twisted menace that exudes from Cave’s “Murder Ballads” album. Pure joy. There is much more to this album and this was just my initial thoughts on the vocal style and overall atmosphere. “The Hound” tells a theatrical tale of the fading days of a mighty hound once feared by any who could hear its howl, but the theatrics (vocal and musical) suddenly straightens out with a flourish of speed and melody, which sums up what you can expect on the album – the unexpected. Following on this is “Blood on the Trail” which is again just a little more straight-forward with a high, rocking tempo, but sounds so sinister I couldn’t help but think of Arcturus yet again. That comparison surely is there, even if it’s not so much in the musical style it certainly is in the intent.
“Divine – Appalling” starts off with a beautiful Doom riff that brings back memories of Black Sabbath (is that the Devil’s note I hear?) and the song swaggers between a slow pace and some flamboyant flourishes in-between. Another slow burner is “The Dead Won’t Mind” that maintains a slow, bluesy tempo that sounds like it is being performed on the front porch of some decrepit wood cabin in the swamps somewhere, by a man gone mad from all the home brewed ‘shine he consumes. The journey comes to an end with a soulful track in “Lost Among Liars” that is lent a very atmospheric and nostalgic cloak by a keyboard and acoustic guitar combo, followed by “Blood Don’t Eliogabalus.” The final track starts with some nice Black Metalish riffs that get subverted and twisted into something you’d expect to see at some mad carnival.
Flamboyant is a word that works well here and if I can attempt a further description of the musical style, it would be Progressive Black Metal that has evolved and gone down a path overgrown with vines and littered with prickly things that makes you jump when you step in it. Not forgetting the strange creatures that peer out from behind the trees and sneer at you and set detours on your way to make sure you remember the journey you’ve just been on. “The Tower” is dark, dreary, wild, boggling and overall deserved to be in my top five, it is indeed a very close contender for numero uno.
P.S. I’m a huge fan of the Bandcamp platform, it makes music much more accessible to people who live in odd ends of the world, who don’t have iTunes or Spotify/Simfy accounts. You can stream the whole album so if it sounds like something you’d enjoy, go and do it!