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Vulture Industries - The Tower (Album Review)

Thursday, 03 October 2013 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Every once in a while a metal band pops out of nowhere, grabs the world by the bollocks and demands to be heard. Slipknot did it with their self-titled masterpiece and this year Crossfaith have been receiving obscene amounts of media attention off the back of their 'Zion' EP and latest opus, 'Apocalyze'. Hell, Avenged Sevenfold are headlining Wembley Arena in a few months.

And even though most of the bands who reap success do, in fact, deserve it, there are plenty who don’t get their due. They soldier on relentlessly, monotonously churning out albums that could be regarded as modern-day classics if anybody actually listened to them.

Vulture Industries are one such band. Having released two full-length albums to little media recognition, the Norwegian nutters recently signed a deal with prestigious metal label Season Of Mist. Already harbouring a plethora of metal behemoths, ranging from Phil Anselmo right down to Septicflesh, the label seems like the perfect springboard for the band.

The title track here is a statement of intent, if you'd be so bold as to think of it like that. A cacophony of thunderous drums are accompanied by the discordant drone of guitars, spearheaded by vocalist Bjørnar Nilsen.

His grandiose baritone demands to be heard, pulling the song into a completely different realm with a psychotic whisper, only to lighten the tone once more with a pompous, Devin Townsend-esque drawl later on. Oh, and there's saxophones. They’re not utilised in the same overblown way as Norwegian contemporaries Shining, but in a much more subtle, morbid manner.

To describe the music of Vulture Industries is something of an impossible task. To the ears of those less versed in the realms of extreme metal, describing 'The Tower' would be similar to telling somebody that you saw a seven-legged frog wearing a party hat while riding a moped.

There's just so much content crammed into Vulture Industries' DNA that even trying to describe the bare bones is quite a task. It's Opeth for people who like being silly. It's black metal for people who don't like harsh vocals. It's Sleepytime Gorilla Museum for people who actually enjoy recognisable song structures. The progressive, sprawling epic The Hound pushes 10 minutes, yet still contains enough hooks and memorable riffs to create five individual songs. This selfless method of quality control is a breath of fresh air and lesser bands would have chickened out, cut the song up and re-arranged it into several different tunes.

Even during the same song, the style can shift almost instantly. Sleepwalkers descends into a black metal mess, brutal vocals and fuzzy guitars all over the shop. Then, the next minute, the pace has changed completely, exhuming a Crack The Skye-era Mastodon vibe. It's stuff like this that catches the listener off guard, making for a genuinely exciting experience.

The word 'progressive' gets thrown about a lot nowadays, but Vulture Industries adopt and adapt to the label in their own weird way. This is a band totally in control of their artistic vision, taking listeners on a terrifying descent into a schizophrenic, challenging, but ultimately rewarding realm of music. Every song is a work of art in its own right, and when woven into the inner-workings of 'The Tower', they amalgamate into the most exciting metal album of 2013.

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