Grand Feast For Vultures
posted on 6/2009 By:
I’ll never forget the day in the spring of 1991 when I found an abandoned copy of Metal Maniacs in the school cafeteria and read, to my horror, that thrash was dead. As a fairly recent initiate into the world of metal, with a music collection that consisted of little beyond a few Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth cassettes, this was a disturbing declaration. Of course as it turns out, eighteen years later, it is Metal Maniacs that has met its demise, and thrash is still alive and kicking. Between old bands reforming, and the hordes of retro-minded upstarts cropping up left and right, I dare say the market is becoming a bit oversaturated. What does this mean for Blood Tsunami’s sophomore release, Grand Feast for Vultures? Well, it means that theses Norwegians are going to have to work pretty hard to make a lasting impression. Whether the band has succeeded in this endeavor remains to be seen, but they sure have given it the old college try.
Despite a debut album entitled, simply, Thrash Metal, Blood Tsunami’s sound while certainly rooted in thrash, is far more expansive than many of their old school-leaning peers. Right off the bat, it must be noted that singer/guitarist, Pete Evil’s vocals more closely resemble those of black metal than thrash and bassist, Bosse’s backing vocals are delivered in a death metal growl. With songs such as the title track and “Castle of Skulls,” the band delivers some fairly straightforward thrash. Both songs are fast and furious numbers, and the latter features a wicked breakdown that sounds like it belongs on South of Heaven. Other tracks on the album draw influence from less obvious sources than Slayer. “Nothing but Contempt,” for instance, has a main riff that sounds like a left over from Slaughter of the Soul. The dazzling twelve and a half minute instrumental “Eceladus Rising” finds the band invoking the spirit of Iron Maiden. The track is so riddled with leads and harmonies it sounds like an extended take on “Hallowed be thy Name.” The brooding final track “One Step Closer to the Grave” is similarly epic in proportion at over ten minutes in length. With the extended soloing in its second half the track comes off like thrash metal “Free Bird.”
The band’s performance throughout the record is rock solid: rhythms are tight and the numerous harmonies and melodies are executed flawlessly. The production is clear and the mix is well balanced, but as with many modern recordings, it sounds a little too slick.
Blood Tsunami has done an impressive job of creating a diverse sounding thrash album, as no two tracks really sound the same. However, the band seems to be overflowing with ideas, as each song is packed with so many riffs and melodies that they seem at risk of collapsing under their own weight. Furthermore, many of the band's most memorable riffs, sound a little too derivative. I realize expecting originality from a thrash band is borderline ludicrous, but the band would be well served by trying to develop a voice of their own. As it stands, they come across as gifted mimics more than a true creative force.
Thrash purists will likely scoff at the modern trappings of Blood Tsunami’s sound, but I think Grand Feast for Vultures will sit well with fans of melodic death metal bands like Arch Enemy and Dark Tranquillity and thrash fans that appreciate Kreator's past few albums.
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