Dealin' Death

Vultures are, far and away, the gnarliest friggin’ birds you’re ever gonna come across. I’m not talking about those oddly and simultaneously ugly and pretty King Vultures, or those powerful evil-wizard-looking bearded vultures, OR those badass mythical motherfucker Griffon Vultures. No, I’m talking your everyday, nightmare-inducing, boiled-skull-looking turkey vulture. LOOK AT THAT FUCKING THING. Terrifying. And huge! Around these parts you see ‘em by the dozens, and every so often you’ll find them slowly circling overhead, just waiting for you to die so they can peck out your eyeballs, rip open your gut and feast on your innards. METAL. AS. FUCK.

So when Germany’s Vulture hit the scene in 2017 with their debut The Guillotine, it probably should have come as no surprise that they came packing all the FUCKIN’ METAL you could possibly handle into their brand of retro-Speed n’ Thrash goodness – so much so that Metal Blade records wasted little time to add them to their roster for follow-up Ghastly Waves & Battered Graves, an album that saw the band honing their skills just a little bit more finely, and served to seal the band’s place in the upper echelon of this modern wave of traditional Thrash metal.

So you’re probably not expecting any big upheaval to the general Vulture formula for album number 3, right? You’re probably thinking you already have your opinion of this band and this brand of metal in general, and there’s probably nothing on this record that will change it one way or another, right? WELL GUESS WHAT, BUCK-O!

… You’re probably right.

But that’s not to say Dealin’ Death is just a copy-and-paste effort. While the classic Teutonic Thrash influences with healthy doses of Annihilator and Overkill are still on display, there’s undoubtedly a little bit more of a Traditional Heavy Metal-leaning flavor this time around, often giving off VERY King Diamond-like vibes, particularly on more mid-paced tracks like “Gorgon” and “Star-Crossed City,” and ESPECIALLY on “Below the Mausoleum,” which would sound right at home on Them or The Spider’s Lullabye. While generally I’m not a huge fan of saying a band sounds “more mature,” the stylistic approach does pull off that effect, helping to change the pace of their otherwise all-out assault and give them a little more depth, and it’s done so without taking away any of the band’s character.

But at the end of the day, the band’s focus is still centered on fast and furious riffs. “Malicious Souls” and “Flee the Phantom” show guitarists Mattes Outlaw and Stefan Castevet sharp as ever, keeping a blitzkrieg pace and trading off some really nice solo work that shows the depth of talent these guys are working with. Check the lead on the aforementioned “Below the Mausoleum” – it’s catchy as all get-out, and preludes one of the album’s better solo sections. Once again, credit is certainly due as well to the solid-as-steel rhythm duo of Andreas (Irön Kommander) Axtinctör and Gereon (Deceiver) Nikolay for laying down some great performances here – providing a fantastic backbone for the guitars and singer Leo Steeler’s trademark snarling vocals and falsetto screams to build upon. Speaking of which, I’m digging the slight uptick here on the album’s use of crowd-pleasing gang vocals, which will surely add even more to the band’s live performances (I’ve never seen them, but it seems like they’d be a blast). It doesn’t take very long at all before you find yourself singing along with “The Court of Caligula,” and the album’s title track, both of which are sure to become fan favorites in short order.

I’m finding myself compelled to just shut up at this point because really, any further analysis would just be an excuse to hear myself talk for a while longer (and nobody really needs that). If you were digging what Vulture were bringing to the table before – HUZZAH! You’re certainly gonna dig this. They’re still METAL AS FUCK, they’re still a ton of fun, and they’re still one of the most solid acts you’ll find in the genre.


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
June 30th, 2021


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