I don’t know what Vulture Industries would think of being regarded as “the new Arcturus”. Whilst in some respects this is a compliment and there is a commonality in that they’re both from Norway, “The Tower” is Vulture Industries third album and for me they tread a unique path. What is clear is that in the pursuit of darker and scarier atmospheres, they are happy to challenge the status quo with their brand of metal music.
Sometimes it’s breathless and frantic. All the time it’s eccentric. The more I listen to this album, the more I’m sucked into this world of insanity. Vulture Industries don’t generate tunes as such. They generate atmospheres in such a way that the absorbing progression of the music, which is utterly darkwave, simply cannot be ignored. Images are evoked of ghastliness and worlds of creepy-crawlies. The nine minute “The Hound” is magnificent. Constantly evolving, it creeps along darkly and yet has a power and emotion which take over and immerse themselves subtly. The singer matches the layered instrumental darkness with a frantic delivery, falling between John Lydon, the Cure’s Robert Smith, Edwyn Collins and the baritone vocals of I Like Trains. Just because it’s about grim themes and over the edge of insanity doesn’t mean it can’t be entertaining.
Like fellow Norwegian bands Atrox and Leprous, Vulture Industries mix darkness, high energy and even the sound of the music hall to an exaggerated degree. It makes you smile. And they prove on “Blood on the Trail” that know how to deliver pulsating metal. “The Dead Won’t Mind” is as oddball and offbeat as it gets. Ghoulish sounds accompany the lovely lyrics: “we’ll cut them up into little bits”. The guitar work is unconventional but in the spirit of the deathly horror which is hanging over us. It’s done with such imagination that it is sheer entertainment. This album is like being locked up in a lunatic asylum with a bunch of talented and open-minded black metal musicians. There’s everything here – industrial, extreme, doom and occasional symphonic sections are all blended into cohesive songs which shouldn’t be cohesive, so anarchic as they are. Experimental doesn’t entirely cover it. Nor does progressive. Nor does avant-garde. This is over-the-top atmospheric metal. Such is the energy that you don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s always interesting and full of sinister flavour. For me, “The Hound” and “Lost Amongst Liars” are the two tracks which capture this album the best. “Lost Amongst Liars” has an utterly captive rhythm with an acoustic line running underneath it. That word “sinister” runs through it. The creepy-crawlies have emerged from their dark and dusty cupboard once again.
Don’t expect something conventional if you choose to listen to this. Do expect to listen to something dark, atmospheric, eccentric … and delightful. Indulge yourself in the insanity!
(9/10 Andrew Doherty)