Vulture – The Sentinels March

Tuesday, 30th April 2024

Photo: Robin Waechtershaeuser

Continuing their rise up the heavy metal ranks, Vulture blazes a trail that may be familiar to some, yet their conviction cannot be denied. Embracing elements of the speed, thrash, and old school traditional metal landscape, their latest record Sentinels contains killer hooks, twin guitar action, and the masterful leather lung melodies/shrieks that send shivers down spines collectively. We reached out to guitarist Stefan Castevet to learn more about the special elements that contributed to the new record, their decision to go over multiple demos to refine the songs, how he enjoys being a director in his own band’s video shoots, memories of touring with Exciter and playing Wacken / Summer Breeze, favorite albums / concerts, as well as hopes to expand the touring situation into far off lands.

Dead Rhetoric: Sentinels is the fourth studio album for Vulture – another evolution in the discography for the band. What factors do you believe fueled the bolder, wilder aspects to this material while also keeping the catchy hooks and strong choruses top of mind?

Stefan Castevet: Being more confident than before, I guess! After not being too happy with Ghastly Waves, Dealin’ Death had some sort of compromises on it, at least for me. We tried very much to not think too complicatedly and play the safe card more. Afterwards we said to ourselves to act like we don’t have a discography at all and see where this is leading us. What do we want the band Vulture to sound like? We took more time than before and did a lot of demos and now have Sentinels in our hand. I think we never sounded more Vulture before. Super happy with the result.

Dead Rhetoric: You recorded three sets of demos before the final tracking of these songs. Where do you think you say the greatest benefits with this approach, did this allow you to really dig deeper into the smaller details to make sure the band would be fully satisfied with every song?

Castevet: Having the chance to put the tracks to a long-term test might be the biggest advantage. We’ve been sitting on the first demo for nearly two years. Was amazing to still love the tracks to years after or also to say: You know what, let’s change that part a bit! It wasn’t about getting into every little detail too much. We did that before and somehow got lost on the way here and there. This time everything’s a little more about energy, aggression and feeling, while building a safer structure around it.

Dead Rhetoric: Working again with Marco Brinkmann in Hellforge Studio, the band implemented more of a structured daily routine where you set goals to focus on recording these songs. Why do you believe this approach paid off in a stronger final effort in the end?

Castevet: The most important thing might’ve been that we’ve been very well prepared, so we could simply ‘deliver’ in the studio. This time it was all about work and therefore you’re focused more, I guess. Nevertheless, I kinda missed the little heavy metal holiday vibe a bit here and there. Loved it always!

Dead Rhetoric: You shot videos for “Unhallowed & Forgotten” as well as “Realm of the Impaler” – the latter self-directed by you. What made these obvious choices for singles / visual clips – and did you enjoy the aspects of being behind the scenes in that role as much as being a musician for the second video?

Castevet: “Unhallowed & Forgotten” was the absolute obvious first single for us. It’s 100% Vulture and we were able to show that we’re now also able to do bigger choruses. With “Realm of the Impaler” as the second single we wanted to show the more melodic, classical side of Vulture to make people see the spectrum of the band. Doing music videos was absolutely amazing. I enjoyed it so much, even though it also comes along with a lot of stress and in the also a lot of responsibility. I know, it’s strange to say that about your own work, but I’m really, really proud of that video. Such a dense cool atmosphere, dynamic cut, cool colors, and Andreas did an amazing job with the props! It has been a great symbiosis; I think we will continue that path!

Dead Rhetoric: How did the process develop with Mario Lopez for the cover art on Sentinels? To my eyes there is a lot of symbolism and deeper thought to specific color schemes that works well for what the consumer will see…

Castevet: We are super happy with Mario’s art! We sent him a pic of me holding a kitchen knife over a chess board (laughs)! Then sent him the lyrics and gave some little instruction for the characters and so on. The rest was up to him. The first sketch was already near perfect. He absolutely got our vibe right away. The cover’s eerie and dangerous to my eyes, yet still is looking absolutely huge!

Dead Rhetoric: Following the release of your last album Dealin’ Death, you got the opportunity to play prestigious festivals like Wacken and Summer Breeze as well as tour with Exciter. What were these shows like for the group – do you feel like you were gaining more comfort on these different stages and also seeing growth in the following of Vulture as a result?

Castevet: Never ever have we been treated with more respect and hospitality than at Wacken Open Air. That was absolutely surprising to us, since we were by far one of the smallest numbers on the bill. It’s been an absolute pleasure. I’ve been there only once as a fan and that’s like 16 years ago, coming back as a musician felt a bit like an unspoken dream coming true. Playing numerous shows with Exciter was also absolutely stunning. They’re absolutely fantastic people and it’s great to meet old heroes and discover they’re actually fun to be with! Heard great stories, had all the beers and even have been greeted with friendly ears to our stories and experiences. Amazing!

Dead Rhetoric: What do you consider three of the most important metal albums that shaped your outlook on the genre – and what’s the best concert memory you have, taking in a show as a fan – plus what made that show so special to you?

Castevet: I might have to go with obvious picks here. Bonded By Blood and Hell Awaits. Bonded for the energy, for the hits, riffing style and vocals and Hell Awaits for the absolute “evilness” and sounding heavier than anything else ever. Personally also The Awakening by Powerlord plays a gigantic role. The simplicity of the songs, combined with that fierce-US Metal energy gives me instant goosebumps. My favorite concert might be a little off. We’ve played a show in the mountains of Norway for a little festival with like 200 visitors or so. Nekromantheon joined with Aura Noir and played one and a half hours of Slayer classics. That’s by far my favorite concert. Beers were like 12 Euro per. Coming from Germany that’s the most expensive thing I ever came across. Bought four. All of them landed anywhere but inside me.

Dead Rhetoric: You also have a side band Luzifer in a power trio format that features other Vulture members. How did this project develop and how do you make things distinctive between both acts?

Castevet: It’s not hard to differ which idea is for Vulture and which for Luzifer. Luzifer’s not like an active band or such. Once in a while, I feel like writing Heavy Metal songs. This has been going on for ages now. Might be that we’ll do more stuff in the next years, but it feels very great to not plan anything or have any pleasure.

Dead Rhetoric: Now having four albums under your belts, what are the next steps that you would like to take within the career of Vulture to establish an even stronger footprint in the scene?

Castevet: I would really love to leave the continent sometime soon. Play Japan, play US, play South America and then just continue what we’re doing right now for as long as we can. I’m very grateful for the thing we’re having!

Dead Rhetoric: What’s on the horizon for Vulture and any other musical ventures over the next year or so as far as touring, festivals, recordings, etc.?

Castevet: We were supposed to play South America in a few weeks. Tragically, the promoter died, and the tour got cancelled. It’s a super sad story. Nevertheless, we’re trying to make the most of the year now. There’s plenty of cool stuff coming up in Europe for us. Next week, we’ll play Portugal for the first time. Can’t wait for some good weather finally!

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