Are you familiar with the band Bulldozing Bastard? That German duo released two brutal black/speed metal albums in 2013 and 2015, before both of the musicians involved (bassist Andreas and frontman/guitarist Stefan) decided to form Vulture, together with members of Luzifer and Wifebeater. Now, Vulture has been a slightly different beast than Bulldozing Bastard – the music is much more structured and melodic, with more emphasis put on classic heavy and speed metal, with the aggressiveness and black metal influences toned down.
The debut demo Victim To The Blade from 2016 caused quite a stir in the old school circles and on its strength, Vulture were quickly offered a deal with the legendary Metal Blade Records (after a full length The Guillotine debut). Ghastly Waves & Battered Graves was the first album on Metal Blade and displayed a more refined touch on Vulture’s speed metal assault, with an obvious wish to go forward and grow in musicianship and catchiness. This vision is now fully displayed on the third full length Dealin’ Death, which is released today.
The listener is only given 55 seconds of intro to sink in the mood and be thrown in a deadly pit of insane riffing, ominous melodies, harmonies and frenetic tempo. Malicious Souls is a rule book of how real speed metal is played in the RIGHT way. Same goes for Count Your Blessings or Multitudes Of Terror, but it should me said that there are also songs which introduce more layers, sound effects and more varied compositional approach, as for example Gorgon, Below The Mausoleum and, especially, album highlight Star-Crossed City. Vulture is a band that cherishes good, old classic speed metal, with all of the trademarks that were introduced by titans of the genre like Razor, Exciter or early Anthrax and Overkill. It is not too often to listen to an album which ticks absolutely all of the boxes and is a pure joy to headbang to. The amazing cover artwork by Velio Josto is also a necessary touch to complete the overall feeling of satisfaction by the listener.
The fantastic live performances these guys are capable of is a completely different story and I really hope we will get the chance to see them soon on stage. Highly recommended!
Of course, Velvet Thunder couldn’t miss the opportunity to chat with Stefan about the album:
Dealin’ Death will be released exactly two years after Ghastly Waves & Battered Graves. The songs in the new album sound more inspired and are a step forward in the musical story of Vulture. How would you describe the differences between the two albums?
Stefan: Yes, I think so, too! Biggest difference might be, that the songs are way more direct in terms of structure and come to the point way quicker than the tracks on GWBG. This time we said ourselves: Let’s write a record that we’d listen to as fans rather than musicians.
That’s resulting obviously in choruses that are more thought through and a little more catchiness here and there. We’re still trying to keep that typical Vulture-drama up nevertheless.
Songs like Star-Crossed City, the title track and The Court Of Caligula are introducing a varied tempo and some tasty sound effects, along with a more classic heavy metal vibe. Is speed or varied tempo and hooks more important in a song structure?
Stefan: I think contrast is key. Slower numbers only work on album length if you combine them with faster tracks and of course the other way round. That goes for drama, melody and more wicked patterns as well. They need to be put in contrast by simple thrashing or direct hooks.
You’ve once again worked with Velio Josto for the album artwork. How important is artwork, merchandise and overall imagery to Vulture?
Stefan: Very important. When we started out we came to the conclusion right away. In the end, with a new record as a band, you’re selling a product. And a product needs to be well thought through on all its sides. That includes artwork, outfits and imagery big time.
During the pandemic, a lot of bands decided to postpone indefinitely their new albums, at least until touring is resumed. Why did you decide to not let the fans wait longer and still put out the new album?
Stefan: Tracks were finished, writing new tracks is set on hold as long as these tracks wouldn’t see the light of the day. So that was one more practical reason behind getting Dealin’ Death out now. Of course, touring and shows are not an option right now. But mainly also because of that, people are lusting for new music. At least I’m feeling that way. Something to distract yourself from boredom. Maybe Dealin’ Death will be that to some people during this troubled times.
What is your impression from working with a legendary label like Metal Blade Records?
Stefan: It’s amazing. So far there’s nothing to complain about, haha. Guess that goes for both sides. We feel honoured to be on the same roster that released Show No Mercy and Hell Awaits, for example!
When you put yourself in the shoes of a fan, what is the thing you look for when you enter a music store, looking for a new band to discover?
Stefan: For blindly buying new records? Cover artworks! If a logo and band pic or an artwork screams METAL to me, than I’m in I guess. That’s what I did at least when I was a teenager. Discovered a lot of great bands that way.
Tell us more about the equipment you use in the studio. How do you achieve your trademark old school sound?
Stefan: By expertise from our producer I guess, haha. This time we got the old school by doing it the most new school way possible: Guitars are digitally amped in an absolute perfect manner. For vocals, drums and bass we got some great pre-amps in the studio. Guess that did a lot to the sound.
In the end everything’s in the hands of Marco Brinkmann, our producer. He knows so well what we need to sound like and did a perfect job on this one. Dealin’ Death‘s the best we ever sounded to my ears.
The lyrics of Vulture are very much influenced from horror movies and literature. Can you tell us what are your top three horror movies and also top three horror novels?
Stefan: I’m more the movie-watching part of Vulture. Andreas’ the literature-guy. Top three movies? Easy!
1. The Pit and the Pendulum 2. The Wicker-Man 3. Rosemary’s Baby
Thanks for answering our questions. What would like to finally tell the readers of Velvet Thunder?
Stefan: You’re welcome! Thanks for having me! You should probably all go and give Dealin’ Death a spin, a pre-order, a stream or what so ever. Vulture kills!