HRR 625 CD, ltd 500, slipcase with alternate cover art

L. Steeler - Vocals
M. Outlaw - Guitars
S. Genozider - Guitars & Drums
A. Axetinctor - Bass

01 Vendetta
02 Clashing Iron
03 Triumph of the Guillotine
04 Electric Ecstasy
05 Adrian's Cradle
06 (This Night Belongs) to the Dead
07 Paraphiliac
08 Cry for Death


Vulture from North-Rhine Westphalia have stirred up some decent attention among Speed- and Thrash fans with their debut EP “Victim To The Blade”, and they are now presenting us with their first full-length album. Putting out a first full-length album of course means a lot to any band, as bassist A. Axetinctör can confirm: “It's a very exciting time right now. We put a lot of time, sweat and blood into the album over the course of the last year so it's always a very fulfilling moment to see the hard work pay off. The success of the EP put a lot of pressure on us to meet our own very high expectations with the debut album, resulting in countless long and detailed discussions about nearly everything from riffs and arrangements over the mixing and production process to the artwork and layout. But we can confirm that we are more than pleased how everything turned out and that it was worth the pain.”
S. Genözider ,who handles both drums and some of the guitars, adds his view on Vulture's debut: “Creating 'The Guillotine' as been one hell of a ride, with many ups and at least as many downs along the way. The songwriting phase was very intense and accompanied by a lot of self-criticism and reflection. The time in the studio was even worse, haha. It feels very good to finally hold the finished product in our hands and have our minds cleared from all doubts or troubles.”
The members of Vulture also active in a bunch of other, closely related bands, such as Quintessence, Bulldozing Bastard, Luzifer, Hellhunt or Wifebeater, but right now, Vulture has become the main priority, for a couple of good reasons, as the band explains. “Vulture took nearly all of our time and attention in the last two years so the other bands were put on hold rather unintentionally than out of a clear decision. But I guess we'll re-start them again sooner or later with fresh ideas and renewed motivation,” says A. Axetinctör and is seconded by M. Outlaw: “All of us also needed time to reach personal goals in their lives besides music, including the degree to our studies or the start into work life, which made it necessary to focus on the one thing or the other. With the overwhelming response we’ve had with Vulture, it was a pretty easy choice to fully concentrate on this band.” So, the intention behind forming Vulture was a lot more than just the need for another outlet for the ideas and riffs that just didn’t fit with the existing bands, as S. Genözider explains with some vehemence: “No, Vulture is definitely not a riff-dumbster. With my departure from Obsessör in 2015 I wanted to continue writing and celebrating the Thrash/Speed Metal genre. The musical idea was and still is to grab this genre by its very roots. For us this means to dig deep and draw inspiration from proto Metal and Heavy Metal's early stages. Another important aspect for us is to go beyond boundaries. May it be our own limits as musicians or for example the common structures of songs. We're trying to be surprising, wild and unpredictable, while also creating the comforting feeling that makes classical Heavy Metal so endearing.”
Vulture have named Agent Steel and Slayer as big influences, plus Exodus (Paul Baloff), Dark Angel (Don Doty) and Razor (Sheepdog), but S. Genözider and A. Axetinctor explain how Vulture actually deal with musical influences: “Apart from our favourite music, which we're of course influenced by, our debut EP had quite an impact on our ideas during the songwriting phase as well. We were very satisfied with the material we created beforehand and wanted to continue that streak. Each of us has been active as a musician and songwriter for many years now, we're glad to bring our own styles, visions and ideas into our songs. One set goal for VULTURE has always been to not start another copycat act. So NOT sounding like other bands is more important than “having a riff like the own you can hear on record XY” says S. Genözider, and the Vulture bassist can only agree to that: “Definitely. Apart from that, I'd say Thrash and Speed Metal bands only make up about 50% of our influences. The other half consists of various NWOBHM bands, a huge chunk of Judas Priest and other proto-metal bands like Deep Purple. We developed a lot of very unique tropes, especially when it comes to arrangements, which you won't find everywhere. This includes sudden changes in speed, style or mood. There is a surprise in every song really. Generally I'd describe our music as a sped up Judas Priest record sprinkled with bay-area thrash and Canadian speed, steeped in the atmosphere of early Mercyful Fate/ King Diamond.”
The reactions to Vulture's debut EP were “overwhelming to put it mildly. The tape sold out in no time so we were more than happy that we got the chance to have the demo rereleased on CD and vinyl. The reactions were great before and after the rerelease only the amount of feedback changed because more people had access to a copy.” And this great underground success did of course bring some changes about. S. Genözider on this: “What was definitely new to us was the amount of feedback we got. It was amazing to see that the EP spread that well in such a short period of time. Our hopes now with 'The Guillotine' are to go further, to spread our music as far as possible. We're very confident with our final result and are more than nervous to publish it and show it to the people who keep constantly asking us for 'Victims...' successor.”
Even though the debut EP was a huge success, some people still found something to complain about: One reviewer that claimed that Vulture sounded a bit “rumbling”, more “project-like” than like a “real band”. A. Axetinctör and S. Genözider have something to say to this young anonymous man: “I don't really know how you can hear the difference between a project and a band, haha, but I guess playing live shows and working on the album only helped to form more of a union and therefore a 'real band'. The album is definitely a step up from the demo, in every aspect. The songwriting is even more varied and exaggerated this time, tracks like 'To The Dead' and 'Adrian's Cradle' are dripping with atmosphere and our producer Marco exceeded himself with a flawless sound and mix. All in all it's a lot more professional and mature in the best sense possible.” And here is S. Genözider's opinion on this matter: “Personally, I don't think we ever sounded 'rumbling' or 'project-like' on our EP. I'm quite sure that, for a first release, 'Victim To The Blade' was a very elaborate piece of music. Now, 'The Guillotine' is making a lot more steps into the 'elaborate' direction. I'm pretty sure we'll also please this rather skeptic reviewer.” No doubt about that, especially as Vulture had set themselves some ambitious goals for the “The Guillotine”. A. Axetinctör explains: “The goal was pretty simple: Pick up where we left off and take it to the next level. But as it turned out this was quite ambitious. Our aim was to fill the longer runtime with even more variations and interesting ideas without losing focus of what's important or become redundant, which is a thin line to walk on when making a full album. But in the end I think we managed to craft a record that catches the attention with familiar tropes, drags the listener deep into its thick atmosphere and leaves on a satisfying high note.”
Vulture's approach to writing and recording music definitely mirror their high ambitions: “At first we collect riffs, loose ideas and song fragments which we try to piece together or reject afterwards. These first arrangements are then refined during a long period of discussions over the course of the following months. Solos, titles and lyrics are added and changed throughout the whole process. Some lyrics on 'The Guillotine' were already close to a year old when we started recording, others were finished in the studio. Overall it's a very dynamic process where it is never quite sure whether something will end up on the record 'til it's actually recorded” S. Genözider on this: “When building song structures and sticking lose ends together, it's very important for us to create an atmosphere and a foundation which suits the riffs best. On the one hand, complex structures, technical riffs and progressive approaches work best when they are contrasted with simple elements and rather catchy tunes. On the other hand, simple riffs and plausible chord progressions only work out when they are the outcome of a long phase of thinking things through.”
S. Genözider also tells us where and when the album was recorded, and how the production turned out so amazingly. It wasn't an easy ride: “We started recording after New Years Eve 2016. Just as for the EP, we went to work in Hellforge Studio with our good old friend and comrade in arms Marco Brinkmann. The high standards we had while writing the album also found their way inside the studio. On the one side, these standards, which also heavily infected Marco right away, provided a very determined focus in the tracking phase. Marco always tried to push us to our limits and he got the chance to do so very often. There were shitloads of parts in our songs that we were struggling with. Marco managed to push us beyond our limits. The effort we all took while tracking, both band and producer, were really worth every drop of sweat we poured on the studio's carpets. Once Marco started mixing the songs, we suddenly started to realise how nervous we were about the release. The high standards and the will to go at least one step further created a sort of disorientation on both sides. I can't count the number of mixes that have been declined. In late february, some six weeks after the tracking, we finally had been satisfied with a given mix by Marco, only to find out a week later that he himself was heavily disappointed with the mix. He decided to take a month-long break from producing 'The Guillotine' and suddenly came back with that monster of a mix that managed to emphasize every single aspect that we love about our music and our sound. The mix is absolutely marvellous and, from our point of view, unrivalled in our genre. Every riff is like a razor cut, every shriek pierces our eardrums, and every hit of the snare makes your heart beat faster. The master, that was created in split seconds by Patrick W. Engel of Temple Of Disharmony, suits this mix in the best imaginable way. Unlike most albums of our genre, 'The Guillotine' got a professional and, by the meaning of its name, real production. We're really proud of that. In the end Marco turned out as a fifth band member, I guess.” Wow, what a story. An album that was created with so much passion definitely deserves a proper sleeve image, and Vulture sure took care of that. Vocalist L. Steeler tells us more: “The artwork for the album was once again done by the fabulous Velio Josto, an Italian artist, whose work perfectly fits our visual tastes and preferences regarding album covers. His razor-sharp realistic kind of style literally cuts the album sleeve in half with the flashing guillotine blade. The title on the backside was created by Christoph Breit, known for his work for Infected Arts.“ S. Genözider also emphasises the importance of putting the right man to the job: “Every aspect of a record is important, everything is part of our concept. It's very important for us to deliver the feeling of the album through our artworks and layouts. Velio Josto is the only man for that.”
As “The Guillotine” is such a carefully crafted piece of music, is it even possible to name anything that Vulture would like fans and press to take special notice of when listening to it? We get three answers to this question. First comes S. Genözider. “I guess what makes this album stand out the most is its very well thought-through and mapped out songwriting. You can clearly hear that our tracks are not the outcome of a 20 minute rehearsal room jam. We're living up to our own high standards regarding Heavy Metal music. Every aspect of the album is calculated, nothing's left to chance. Yet, the album is vibrating, it's vivid, wild and far from sounding modern, artificial or mediocre. 'The Guillotine' is celebrating Heavy Metal without trying to sound old school. The album and its songs are deeply rooted in the 70s and 80s, yet they are products of our time. 'The Guillotine' is authentic, not retro. Every song stands for its own. I guess also each of us has it's own highlight.” That's already a lot, but not all! A. Axetinctör: “My personal highlight is 'Adrian's Cradle', because it is the perfect roundup of 'The Guillotine. Riffs like knives, typical Heavy Metal melody parts and a thick atmosphere. The great guest vocals from Olof of Enforcer, which we got to know in London last year, are capping it all off. Besides all that Genozider managed to create the most magic moment of the album in the melodic middle parts.” And vocalist Leo can still add to that: “That's the way I feel about 'Cry For Death'. The last song for me is absolutely spot on. This one's summarizing Speed Metal in a perfect way and is a great closure to our album. The catchy, glimmering intro theme, followed by power riffs and ultra violence takes no prisoners at all.”
That is a perfect description, and it is also a good bridge to the last question: Lyric-wise, Vulture so far have been concentrating on classic horror stories and suspense movies. Has that changed with “The Guillotine”? And, for all history geeks among the readers: is the album title maybe a hint to the French Revolution, the not-so-glorious heyday of the guillotine? M. Outlaw negates that assumption and explains: “No, actually the album has nothing to do with the French Revolution. ‘Triumph Of The Guillotine’ was the first song that was finished right after the release of our EP and it should mark the direction we were about to go nto. On the new album you’ll hear stories about sharpened knives, serial killers and horror. You can regard our lyrics more like a metaphor for our sound, which I’d describe as 'faster than the falling blade of a guillotine!'” That's a good one! And S. Genözider has the last word: “We're huge fan of old horror classics. Themes and also complete stories that have the most impact on us also find their way into our songs. So, 'This Night Belongs To The Dead' is about John Carpenter's masterpiece 'The Fog', while 'Adrian's Cradle' is telling the story of my favourite movie 'Rosemary's Baby'.”
Ulrike Schmitz