The last few years have seen an uptick in the popularity of noisy speed metal that borders on thrash. Germany’s Vulture gained some notoriety with 2016’s “Victim To The Blade” demo, which resulted in their eventual signing to High Roller Records for their debut, “The Guillotine”. This album is exactly as advertised; it is a raw, speedy affair designed to appeal to those who worship the underground. The band refuses to give you a moment to catch your breath as they bludgeon you with riff after riff of buzzsaw fretwork. Imagine records like “Show No Mercy” and “Heavy Metal Maniac” with the speed turned up a few notches and you’ve got “The Guillotine”. Perhaps in tribute to Slayer’s frontman, Vulture’s singer unleashes a few deadly high-pitched screams amongst his normal cartoonish, yelling voice.
The basic sound of “The Guillotine” is fairly straightforward. The sole nice surprise is the band’s high propensity to inject melody into their music. This is accomplished both through short leads at the end of riffs, and more traditional harmonized lead guitar sections. Beyond these techniques, however, Vulture simply chooses to unleash a lot of speedy, low-end riffs. The band’s frenetic approach means that you will rarely be bored listening to this record. It does make things somewhat one-dimensional, however, resulting in many similar sounding songs. Even a guest appearance from Enforcer’s singer doesn’t necessarily result in anything more memorable, though the song he appears on (“Adrian’s Cradle”) resembles the Swedish band at their thrashiest moments.
Though there are some softer intros, Vulture would benefit from finding ways to add some diversity to their sound. The clean guitars that open “(This Night Belongs) To The Dead”, for example, set up a nice atmosphere that is rendered pointless once the heavier distorted guitars come in. Building upon this intro would have resulted in a particularly memorable track. Instead, we’re left with another speed metal effort that struggles to stand out. Regardless, Vulture definitely accomplished what they set out to do with “The Guillotine”. Fans of this style will eat this record up. Though I love the core elements of the style, it often fails to capture my attention (as my thoughts on early Ranger make clear; another similar band). The end result is that “The Guillotine” is effective, but not all that interesting.
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All/none of it
3.4/5 or 68%.