Thursday, August 23, 2012

Vulture Kult - Don't Let Rock n' Roll Ruin Your Life

Don't Let Rock n' Roll Ruin Your Life from Saskatoon's Vulture Kult had me step outside my comfort zone. I'm more comfortable with less accessible variations of the "rock n roll" mega-genre. Black metal, doom, grind, thrash etc. I wouldn't even consider Vulture Kult to be a metal band at all. So why bother to review it on a metal blog? I'm not really sure. But we'll go with the theory that since it doesn't suck, and I was asked to review it, it was worth a bit of my time.
At only 28 minutes DLRnRRYL is over before you really know it. It' an efficient album. Much like I shop. Get in. Get out. Have something with you to take home. In this case what you can take away from the album is fun. From the first 7 tracks at least. It's a rollicking good time. The power duo of guitarist/vocalist Hans and drummer/vocalist Bradley write punchy hard rock tunes with a decidedly punky edge. The semantics of genre can get a little confusing but calling this Punk Rock makes perfect sense.
Vulture Kult goes all in with opening track "Electric Medication". The tremendously catchy riffs and vocal hooks set the benchmark for the rest of the album. Edgy but accessible, it will have you dancing whether you like it or not. The title track follows suit with swagger and attitude. This is where I can hear the influence of bands such as the Stooges. However, I can't shake off that If-Ozzy-Went-Punk feeling I get from the vocals. Not a bad thing. Rock n rolling right along, "Vultures From Above" is a booze fueled romp through Vegas. While I don't hate "Avenue H", I can really hear KISS on this one and I don't like KISS one bit. That, and this sounds like it should be on Guitar Hero. The sleaze continues with "Cyanide Hand Grenades". That's a pretty killer song title. The song isn't bad either. It's kind of tune that bar bands could learn from. It'll get people up outta their seats. If Vulture Kult was to roll through town, I'd go party. "Go Loose" and "Welcome to the Land of the Dead" showcase Han's vocal diversity. In addition to the Ozzy-ness, he can also sound like Lemmy and even Wino. In fact, fans of Motorhead could find a lot of Vulture Kult much to their liking. Hard-hitting and loud, raucous and bluesy, DLRnRRYL should appeal to most fans of good hard rock. The final two tracks really seem out of place though. Lacking the power present on the rest of the album, it's a real let down. "Movie Of Me"'s quiet guitar and drums and organ make it sound as if it was lifted from a Tarantino film. Not necessarily a bad thing but it doesn't fit the album. Closer "Checking Out" follows that line. It's actually a very fitting finale. It immediately brings to mind the sun setting behind a lonely and broken gas bar on a dusty New Mexico highway.
There's plenty to like on DLRnRRYL. It'll get the blood pumpin' and the body movin' yet won't cause the more conservative members of your family to get all bug-eyed with terror. As I said, it's a little outside my comfort zone but it didn't take long to get comfortable with it. Sit back, crack a beer and don't let rock n roll ruin your life. Let rock n roll enhance it!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Offending - Age of Perversion

This album was kind of weird to me. Not in an avant-garde, these guys are messed up, what the FUCK is going on? kind of way though. No, it's relatively straightforward stuff. What I mean is, Age of Perversion made me think. In a relevant yet unexpected way. It made me wonder just where death metal is headed. There is the uber-technical direction but bands like that (Obscura, Cynic, etc) don't really appeal to me. I much prefer my death metal more in the old school vein. Which is precisely what France's Offending delivers. Age of Perversion doesn't stray much from the foundations of OSDM laid down by the sub-genres forefathers. The riffs ripped from the phalangeal appendages of guitarists Gropoil and Manu drip with brutality, with a slight waft of ominousness. Bassist Yoni fills in the low end with equal dexterity. These three one-named axeslingers assault the listener with a level of technicality that has come to be expected of modern death metal without going over the top. The basis still lies in the realm of DM-catchy, chugging machine gun riffery and double-kick, blastbeat percussive castigation (courtesy of drummer Vincent Roubiere. Two names!).
Whether or not you find Offending offending all depends on which side of the Christianity fence your sitting on. Or at least how firmly you are on the "God is great!" side. Song titles such as "Raped by Religion" alone could be enough to get the fundamentalist's feathers ruffled. The rest of the song titles make the message clear; Christianity has soiled and corrupted its people and blinded them to the truth. Spouting these diatribes is none other than Jesus. I could be wrong but I don't believe the singer pronounces it Heyzoos. That would be way too coincidental. No, the irony of anti-Christian bile being spewn with (predictable but always welcome) death growls by a man calling himself Jesus is just too juicy.
Back to my point. The state of death metal.  Age of Perversion utilizes the same elements countless other OSDM/Brutal DM bands do. I found it to be just as enjoyable as other death metal releases, and even more enjoyable than other, bigger names. (I'll leave you to guess who.) Which begs the question; Why aren't Offending a bigger name? Is there that much parity in the genre that its successes are measured by their branding ability? I may be going overboard a little here. I'm not trying to say that Age of Perversion should be a death metal classic or anything like that but there's really nothing here not to like. Provided of course you prefer your death metal to sound like death metal. Just like everyone else.
Age of Perversion is available now from Deep Send Records.
Please note: The Metal Writers Association of the Greater Forest Mills Environs has insured that no writers were offended in the making of this review.