Vulture Industries – The Tower (Season of Mist Records)

Friday, 27th September 2013
Rating: 8.5/10

It’s nice to play a new album from a band under the ever-expanding metal umbrella and be pleasantly surprised at hearing something interesting, different, fresh, and most importantly – good.  I mean, being weird for weirdness’ sake doesn’t usually net anything of lasting value above novelty status (nor repeat listens).  Now, the Norwegian band Vulture Industries aren’t that weird or anything as they are a traditional rock band, structurally speaking.  Where to peg them in the metal world is a little bit of a challenge, however, so I suppose “Avant-garde metal” would be the best shelf on which to file this album.

Vulture Industries are yet another good band from Bergen, Norway and present their latest work in The Tower, their third album.  If we look only at the superficial value of the band, between the name, the band logo, album art motifs and band photos, we can see that they are trying to stand out from the herd.  V.I. are definitely playing an angle of some kind (I’m still trying to figure it out) – somewhere between art deco hipsters, vaudevillian entertainers, and, I dunno, turn of the century railroad workers?  I give up.

Musically, there’s lots to enjoy here.  The vocals of Bjørnar Erevik Nilsen take center stage, with a quirky and Mike-Patton-like delivery.  One might mistake him for a mental patient with a strong tenor voice.  The stellar album production allows all of the dynamics to shine, and the band really drive home their unique and dramatic vibe with the use of keys (organ and piano), percussion, and even saxophone.  The album feels like an art house film, if that makes sense.

Of the nine album tracks, perhaps there are a couple moments in the middle that sag a bit and are not quite as engaging as the rest of the album.  These were my considerations in not scoring this release even higher than 8.5/10, which I was conflicted about.  I also must say that if I’m betting, my money is on Vulture Industries being big Faith No More fans (hint, hint).  Highlights: “The Hound,” “The Tower,” “Lost Among Liars”

Vulture Industries official site