Vulture – Ghastly Waves and Battered Graves (Metal Blade)

If someone asked you what metal sounded like, what would you play them? Priest’s Painkiller maybe? A song that surely encapsulated the genre in a glorious flurry of turbocharged riffs, incendiary solos and screamed vocals? Or perhaps Raining Blood? Or Whiplash? Or maybe The Trooper? We could go on. But anything found on Ghastly Waves and Battered Graves, with its maelstrom of thrash, raging speed metal and gleaming, Mercyful Fate-style riffery, wouldn’t be a bad shout either.

Vulture may not write stadium-filling anthems, but the German quintet’s second full length is a startling adrenaline hit: songs like Fed To Sharks and Murderous Militia are brimming with ’80s metal spirit, full of youthful abandon and devil may care attitude. It’s like a night on the piss with Raven, Exciter and Kreator, with a dress code of hi-tops and bulletbelts, fuelled by an unholy concoction of strong Rhineland lager and Jägermeister.

Indeed here’s an almost unhinged quality to Ghastly Waves and Battered Graves – and we’re not just talking about the John Carpenter movie synths or the frankly deranged cover of Lizzy’s Killer On The Loose either. L. Steeler’s high pitched vocals are absolutely drenched in reverb, making songs like Tryantula sound even more maniacal… and you never know where the next bone-snapping tempo shift is going to arrive. But you know it will – and when it does, it will hurtle towards you, hand in hand with Outlaw and Genozider’s addictive riffing : the duo evoke Denner and Shermann at their majestic best (and playing at warp speed).

Vulture also offer a refreshing change from the Teutonic thrash revivalists who refuse to deviate from the Endless Pain/Obsessed By Cruelty blueprint. Their music, as frantic as it is, is more dynamic and has more melodic suss than many of their contemporaries.

Fun, feisty and fierce, Ghastly Waves and Battered Graves is a true metal triumph. You just wish more bands would play like this…