Hailing from Richmond, Virginia, and sharing members with Municipal Waste, it’s fair to say that Volture is more than experienced when it comes to great metal. After a quick EP in 2011, the band is back with their debut, “On The Edge”, and it is exactly what you might expect, minus one unfortunate exception. The band has recruited new vocalist Jack Bauer. While he has his moments (see the delivery of the “Can’t you see that we are out of time” phrases in the title track), his delivery is too dry for me. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t sound like your standard traditional heavy metal vocalist, but he comes across as grating, and actively battles the listener’s enjoyment of the music.
With that out of the way, what remains is very competent, predictable heavy metal. “On The Edge” opens with the enjoyable high-speed burst of energy title track that is all too common, but as you might also expect, it is one of the stronger tracks on the record. The tempo does tend to vary, with some tracks leaning towards a stomping, headbanging inducing charge (“Heat Seeker”). Other songs, however, follow the title track. “Ride The Nite” uses a common downpicking speedy riff to satisfice you, but it somehow feels empty. “Desert Pursuit” also uses plenty of chugging (the good kind), while leaving some space for Bauer to wail in the chorus. It isn’t until “Brethren of the Coast” that the album picks up steam again, with a flashy riff that ups the tempo further. The song also displays one of the few moments of Bauer’s vocals that doesn’t get on my nerves, as he soars in a catchy sing-along moment. Harmonized lead guitars later emulate a similar section that would be perfect in a live setting. The remaining songs provide some good moments, but nothing particularly new or interesting. “Hot Wired” is another riff assault, and probably one of the more impressive songs. “Heat Seeker” likewise provides more material that is good for rocking out and getting lost in. The most impressive display of lead guitar work comes “Nightrance”, which is filled both with extensive guitar solos and dual-guitar patterns.
“On The Edge” is a good record for what it is trying to accomplish, but it doesn’t click for me. The songs lack the enthusiasm and staying power that bands like White Wizzard and Holy Grail achieve effortlessly. It isn’t for lack of trying on my part; I’ve listened to “On The Edge” numerous times, and I will continue to come back to it, but traditional heavy metal is normally a very easy genre to get into, and Volture is testing me as best as they can. Perhaps a better singer would solve the issue, but sometimes the songs just aren’t up to par.
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"On The Edge"
"Brethren of the Coast"
3.9/5 or 78%.
Written by Scott