Reviewed: July 2019
Released: 2019, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Kieron Hayes
When Vulture go old-school thrash, they really go old-school thrash. And they stick to their guns (or blades, as the case may be).
Germany’s Vulture have released their second full-length album via Metal Blade Records, and the band is determined to take you right back to 1985. Heavy metal as a whole was still in its early stages, and a number of speed junkies were starting to push the aggression and adrenaline of speed metal further into outright thrash. 30 years on, and Vulture are perfectly happy to pick up right there.
Go take a listen to some classic Agent Steel or Razor records, and you’ll know exactly what to expect. Manic, frenzied vocals, with plenty of epic wails (“Murderous Militia” in particular has a truly other-worldly banshee cry at the start), big, booming drums very dominant in the mix, and a constant background of razor-edged riffs. The whole sound, including the production, is very much harking back to that classic era, but this can be for worse as well as for better, as the riffing, which should be front and centre, is too often buried under the rest of the music. Still, I appreciate the effort at some real authenticity, and big aficionados of the old lo-fi sound will find this a treat.
Production choices aside (where your enjoyment will really come down to personal taste), Ghastly Waves can suffer from a lack of truly stand-out moments, as everything tends to blur together a bit too much into one long piece. An enjoyable piece, but more variety would go a long way in breaking it up. “The Garotte”, with its greater emphasis on melodic guitar work, is a perfect example of a genuine highlight, and something Vulture would do well to focus on going forward.
All told, Vulture does achieve what it sets out to do admirably enough, to glorify that classic and oh-so metallic sound. For speed metal fans, this one should be a satisfying enough listen.