VULTURE - The Guillotine

Vulture - The Guillotine

8 songs
38:29 minutes
***** ****
High Roller


So you want to hear a good joke? The label info sheet truly claims that Vulture are not trying to sound old school! I donít know who they want to believe this, but I havenít come across a band that tried so hard Ė and succeeded in Ė sounding as if their record had been recorded somewhere in the second half of the Eighties. Even the band photos have this lo-fi quality that make you believe that they were shot thirty years ago. All of this could be ridiculous and silly, but in the case of Vulture from the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, there is so much unadulterated passion that especially those among you who lived through the first wave of speed metal will dive deep into nostalgia. The quartet calls its genre high speed metal, and the music is full speed ahead all of the time, so no lies there. In fact, they combine the Teutonic speed thrash metal of pioneer bands like Vendetta, Paradox, Kreator and Destruction with the progressive power speed metal of Agent Steel and Canadian speed thrash of Exciter. There are even some elements of NWOBHM, especially the faster bands like Satan.

The production is rather thin, but again I suspect that this has been thoroughly intended. Itís not bad sounding per se, but coming from an age when there was this garagy touch to metal, before thrash metal became all dense and powerful. The vocals shift between raucous thrash attacks reminding of Exodusí Bonded By Blood era and air raid sirens reminiscent of early Helloween, Mercyful Fate and Agent Steel. If I didnít know any better, Iíd believe that this was a long lost underdog gem from that glorious age.

The album is good from beginning to end, so itís no use talking about every single track, but the opener Vendetta is a good example to understand what Vultureís music is about. The intro is played on a vintage synthesizer that sounds as if a cassette tape had been lying for too long on a heater, and the music is emulating a certain Exorcist horror vibe. When the actual song starts, it starts full speed ahead, with searing guitars, a rattling drum kit that is pushing the whole affair forward, and the vocals make you think that the late Paul Baloff has come back from the dead. Add to this that the songís title is also the name of one of Germanyís finest thrash metal bands from the late Eighties, and the nostalgic journey is perfect.

So yes, The Guillotine is a very derivative effort, and comes with a kind of plunderphonic aesthetics, except that these are actually new songs and not some pasted together snippets from ancient classics. We might wonder if this truly serves a purpose, but in a world where every trend is copied by countless admirers, itís charming to have this same attitude found by a genre that had a rather short shelf life, especially in the case of the short lived speed metal with which I personally grew up.

Back to Reviews