Italian “epic” heavy metal, actually on their debut full length album, and having checked my collection, yes it is true. The name Vultures Vengeance has been a part of the underground for 10 years or so, although I am going to pick up on that descriptor…”epic”…a term over used nowadays, but I can see where it comes from in respect to this album.

From the opening few tunes, its traditional and power metal combined, sounding a fair bit like some of Blind Guardian’s ‘Nightfall…’ period, I don’t find the usual US and Danish epic heavy metal references associated with the supporting release material. That said, the gambit of ‘Fates Weaver’ is pretty cool, it tells a story and encompasses a fair few influences. The sound of the German band I’d referenced earlier comes from Tony T. Steele’s vocal tone. In part, some of the more stretching notes remind me of BG’s Hansi. ‘Pathfinder’s Call’ is another tune that is a rapid joy provider, a powerful statement indeed.

As we go into the “epic” section, i.e. the title track, this is where the album begins to change for me. I feel more and more disjointed, especially on ‘Lord of the Key’. Whilst Vultures Vengeance has the talent, I find the music and vocals combined too much and resulting in a very busy sound. Therefore, the distinction between them, well, this sounds a touch stretched.  ‘Lord of the Key’ allows the guitars to follow the vocal melody in one section, it overpowers the vocal in the mix and the effect is lessened. Maybe it is not the arrangements I am picking an issue with, I think it would be fairer to say it is the mix. It simply loses focus and a lot of lost or combined so much that it’s a barrage of expression, quite overwhelming in fact.

Overall, I am a little removed from this album. It has many awesome flavours, but misses the complete package with a confusing mix. The song writing isn’t in question; the presentation just doesn’t work for me, no matter how immense some of those driving leads and rhythms are. This was for me, challenging epic metal, but in a different context to that envisioned I am sure.

(6.5/10 Paul Maddison)