Thursday 28 November 2013

Vulture Industries - The Tower (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 27/9/2013
Label : Season of Mist

 The Tower, album track listing :

1. The Tower 06:29
2. Divine – Appalling 05:54
3. The Hound 09:47
4. Blood on the Trail 05:35
5. The Dead Won't Mind 03:18
6. A Knife between Us 06:34
7. The Pulse of Bliss 05:49
8. Sleepwalkers 05:37
9. Lost among Liars 05:28
10. Blood Don't Eliogabalus (bonus track) 08:16

Bio :

The Norwegian coastal city of Bergen is famous for its vibrant Rock and Metal scene. Surrounded by fjords and mountains, this beautiful but rain ridden place would be associated with Black Metal by most people, yet VULTURE INDUSTRIES are of a very different breed. "The Tower" explores dark musical vistas with a unique mixture of progressive, experimental, industrial, doom, extreme and even symphonic elements. This amalgamate of styles may conveniently be dubbed Avant-Garde Metal, which can be further explained by drawing possible comparisons with FAITH NO MORE, MR. BUNGLE, ARCTURUS, DEVIN TOWNSEND, VED BUENS ENDE and THE CULT. Starting out as DEAD ROSE GARDEN in 1993, they changed members and consequently the band’s name to VULTURE INDUSTRIES in 2003. Now the band consists of current and former members of SULPHUR, BLACK HOLE GENERATOR, MALICE IN WONDERLAND and SYRACH. After two demos "The Sleeper" (2003) and "The Enemy Within" (2004), which captured attention in progressive circles, the EP "The Benevolent Pawn" (2005) was the first official release. It was followed by two full-length albums, namely "The Dystopia Journals" (2007) and "The Malefactor's Bloody Register" (2010). Both releases gained high critical acclaim and praise from the fans alike. With ARCTURUS in hibernation, VULTURE INDUSTRIES easily claimed the throne of Norwegian dark progressive Metal. Now the band from Bergen takes another step in their steadily climbing career. "The Tower" was recorded at the Conclave & Earshot Studios in Bergen (ENSLAVED, AUDREY HORNE, HELHEIM, TAAKE) and produced by frontman Bjørnar E. Nilsen. The mixing was excellently handled by ENSLAVED keyboarder Herbrand Larsen and the album was mastered by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios (OPETH, KATATONIA, DEVIN TOWNSEND, IHSAHN). "The Tower" is yours to climb

The Band  :

Bjørnar Erevik Nilsen| Vocals, keys and improvised percussion
Øvyind Madsen | Guitars & backing vocals
Eivind Huse | Guitars & backing vocals
Kyrre Teigen | Bass & backing vocals
Tor Helge Gjengeda | Drums & backing vocals

Review :

Now three albums in, Norway's Vulture Industries continue to offer up unique music. That they hail from Bergen and don't play black metal surprised me (naive, perhaps) but the sound they do offer is very unpredictable. A very dark Faith No More/Mr. Bungle with elements of Paradise Lost Sisters of Mercy thrown in?

The title track is up first and combines Paradise Lost-ish melodies with pounding double bass drums and distinctive vocals that are rather gothic in tone. It is bleak stuff with a melding of sounds and genres; progressive post rock, gothic metal and black metal are all present. Divine-Appalling offers an almost sea shanty-esque opening riff before stepping up into a creepy higher tempo. The guitars weave together impressively and the double bass drums are again gainfully employed before a rather Sabbathian interlude.

The sound is truly hard to categorise as it uses so many different elements and at the same time; there are not “post rock passages” followed by “doom passages” and so on. Instead the music shifts along offering the listener flashes of the component parts. The Hound starts slowly and maintains a distinctly mournful and doomy feel for its nine minutes plus. The sound becomes ever more dreamy and lilting through the middle section with, again, good use of guitars and keys. Blood on the Trail rolls out in triplet formation as a very solid metal track, but then breaks down to bass and drums and a sort of industrial feel. Overall, the track has a rather Germanic feel- no bad thing- and is not as straightforward as it first sounds. Great drumming on this one, too.

The Dead Wont Mind marks the half way point of the album with an opening that would not be out of place on a Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds records. The vocals gate distinctly Cave-esque on this one as the song overall acts as a bridge to the latter half of the album. A Knife Between Us opens starkly with distant guitar and vocals before the vocals and then instrumentation are brought forward in the mix and the band whips up a storm of darkness and excellent riffs. Dynamics are utilised effectively and the vocal performance of Bjørnar Erevik Nilsen is stellar. The Pulse of Bliss is more metallic and seemingly direct but offers twists and turns over the course of the near six minutes. The lyrics are again both coherent and of high quality with some neat phrases used that will certainly stick in your head (and that you might steal as song titles for your doom band- “Blood on The Stone” anyone?).

Sleepwalkers starts as creepily as you might expect. As the track goes on “fog thickens over a shrouded mind” and an exercise in paranoia is very deftly acted out. The penultimate Lost Among Liars shifts gears again with a snare rhythm and simple bass line leading the way for atmospheric effects and keys to compliment snaky guitar licks and quality vocals. The quality of the mix is highlighted too, with acoustic guitars audible way back in the speakers to give brightness to the track as it builds. The closing eight minutes plus of Blood Don't Eliogabalas has enough running time to spread its wings and takes in jarring riffs, double bass drums, some almost BM style riffing, keyboard atmospherics and good production. In short, the track serves as a kind of summing up of what went before it, thus working perfectly as an album closer. It is imaginative, hard to pigeonhole and predict and highly engaging for the listener because of this.

I would not hesitate to recommend this album to anyone interested in anything from Nick Cave to Enslaved and anything in between.

Words by : Richard Maw

You can buy it here

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