Vulture Industries // The Malefactor’s Bloody Register
Rating: 3.5/5.0 —Arcturus rip-off done with style
Label: Dark Essence Records
Websites: vulture-industries.net | myspace.com/vultureindustries
Release Dates: EU: 04.10.2010 | US: Unknown

Another one of those bands that has floated in and out of my ‘sphere of knowledge’, I’d never really given Vulture Industries a fair chance. Part of this was probably just laziness on my part, but also the undeniable fact that the band had been pigeonholed as an Arcturus rip-off certainly didn’t make me want to check them out very much. As I’ve been pretty consistent about, I think that rip-off bands are usually boring, unimaginative and frustrating. And with a band like Arcturus that is easily one of the most unique bands to ever show up from the black metal scene, I couldn’t see how it could possibly be even remotely good. Certainly a band cannot re-imagine the most imaginative band from the first wave of Norwegian black metal.

And no, really, you can’t give new meaning to old Arcturus CDs; but Vulture Industries, which is obviously a highly talented group of musicians, has done their best to follow that path. The Malefactor’s Bloody Register is Vulture Industries‘ second full length (though they’ve been around since 1998 according to what I’ve been reading) and it is an enjoyable amalgam of Arcturus and Solefald-style vocals and soundscapes, and while I haven’t heard the previous album, I can say that this one is definitely worth a shot. Using keyboards and far more chuggy (almost nu-metal at times) riffs, The Malefactor’s Bloody Register pounds out one catchy, interesting track after another.

Part of what makes this record so good is that the melodies, true to stylistic form, are catchy but also unique. The riffs are heavy sometimes, and sometimes followed by saxophone-laden sections which remind me strongly of Solefald‘s Red for Fire, but the interplay is good and dynamic and the music is above all cohesive. Tracks like “Bolted Doors”, with its chuggy riffs and circus-like vocals keep bringing me back to this record. The creepy introduction to “I Hung My Heart on Harrow Square” is a good example of the kind of borderline industrial sounds that the band blends into its black metal roots and the clean vocals work very well to contribute to this feeling—harsh and hard, but still melodic, just like Garm’s vocals from the early Arcturus and Ulver material.

And it is ultimately that which is going to continue pushing me away from getting truly excited about Vulture Industries. No matter how talented this band is, vocalist Bjørnar Erevik Nilson (also of Black Hole Generator) imitates Garm’s voice so well that it might as well not be him at all. For some people this might be a really great thing, missing the Arcturus of old, you can break out a Vulture Industries record and pretend that Garm is still with the band and producing good music. But let’s face it, that’s not the case. Any time you have such a blatant rip-off it needs to be called what it is; a rip-off. And for those who dig that kind of stuff, you’ll definitely appreciate The Malefactor’s Bloody Register, which, for example, borrows liberally from La Masquerade Infernale‘s impeccably creepy feel at the beginning of “This Cursed Flesh”.

The Malefactor’s Bloody Register is enjoyable, yes. It is a very good record that I recommend checking out if you’re a fan of Arcturus or Ulver or Unexpect (though certainly more traditional than those Canadians) or any of those kind of crazy circusy bands that seem to appeal to a certain breed of metalhead. This record has its value and is enjoyable. Hell, I like it better than I liked Sideshow Symphonies any day of the week. But if you’re anything like me, this record will only carry you so far before you’ll be pulling out the first three Arcturus records and enjoying it as it was done for the first time.

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  • “pretend that Garm is still with the band and producing good music.” I apologise but Garm is still producing good music.

  • Francesco

    This review is so damn spot-on. They have some worth to them though, despite the fact that when they do differ much from their precedessors it’s in an embarrassing nu way.

  • Robert Chitoiu

    Don’t forget about the lyrics man! They’re some of the best lyrics I have seen. Just read them for Bolted Doors. Very evocative.