Germany has offered up some of metal’s most raw, vicious, and thrashing sounds ever achieved within the genre. Bands like Kreator, Sodom, Destruction, and Exumer, helped develop the speed/thrash sound into something far more aggressive and hostile than a lot of other acts making a name for themselves during the mid-late ‘80s, both in Germany and abroad.
The years 1985-1987 saw the release of celebrated classics such as, Pleasure To Kill, Persecution Mania, Infernal Overkill, and Possessed By Fire, proving to be a pivotal period that redefined the life force of heavy metal.
Roughly 30 years later and a new, matchless torchbearer has emerged from the fierce thrash lands of Germany. They go by the name Vulture, and it’s almost as if that 30-year space didn’t exist between the aforementioned classics and what Vulture has been able to accomplish since their formation in 2015.
With their debut demo Victim To The Blade (2016) and onward through Ghastly Waves & Battered Graves (2019), Vulture has been professionally executing some of the most cherished sonic qualities of traditional speed metal. Like the predecessors from their country of origin, and some bay-area additions, the band whip up an onslaught of riffage, battering drum fills, a top-notch dueling guitar assault, and enough reverb surrounding their production to fit right in with the most lethal releases of 1985/1986.
Vulture keeps that treasured atmosphere alive and well with their newest ‘80s-drenched full-length, Dealin’ Death, out May 21 via Metal Blade Records. With Dealin’ Death, Vulture have sharpened their collective axe blade, delivering 10 maniacal tracks that slash forth with heavy riff work, shrilling vokills, and deadly songwriting dynamics.
Opting to introduce Dealin’ Death in acoustic fashion, which never fails in my opinion, “Danger Is Imminent” foreshadows the incursion of “Malicious Souls.” Thundering percussion and rapid string work are led into thrashing combat by the squealing howl of vocalist L. Steeler.
It’s abundantly clear that Vulture remains rooted in their classic influence, but the song structures they piece together on Dealin’ Death come action-packed with reanimated alterations. The heart-pounding hook in rowdy brawler “Count Your Blessings” and the necrotic nature of lead single “Star-Crossed City,” both come armed with electrifying transitions and a whirlwind of wrist action.
Fear and terror begin to seep into the atmosphere with the rising introduction and infectious melody of “Gorgon.” Mythology meets speed metal in this hair-raising number, ignited by a smoking hot lead that transitions into a classical piano segment. Reeling in the technical tricks, Vulture makes use of tastefully written riffs n’ shred to equip this beast of a song with one haunting hook.
The band’s ghastly tendencies continue over the course of “Flee the Phantom,” “Below the Mausoleum,” and “The Court of Caligula.” A Mustaine-inspired creativity shines throughout the band’s guitar leads as they continue to elevate their old-school-minded principles. Varying riff nuances and a buffet of meaty bass lines set up new segments seamlessly, as Vulture drill catchy chorus after catchy chorus into your head.
While the spine-chilling introduction of “Multitudes of Terror” erupts into an all-out, circle-pit-inducing thrasher, the title track “Dealin’ Death” brings the album cover to life, maintaining the quality of the band’s murderous ways.
Dealin’ Death is a suspenseful speed metal slasher, reinforced by well-crafted songwriting. The best of both worlds come to life as Vulture combine classic instincts with their own, deranged ideas, a framework that has fueled them since the beginning.
Offering more changing dynamics and catchier hooks, the songs that make up Dealin’ Death are an unstoppable force. I recall promoting their last record Ghastly Waves & Battered Graves to the best of my abilities, and my biggest hope here is that larger crowds of people catch on to the frightful, knife-to-neck experience the band offer with their latest.