Skull Vultures’ entire approach to this demo is as ominous as it is minimal. The name alone should be imposing enough to earn a chance from the metal community, though perhaps not anyone else. The album art of two vaguely distinguished black wings and the short but crushing track listing only add to the effect.
On their 11-minute self-titled demo, Skull Vultures use elements from all of heavy metal’s eras, be it the stoner rock of the 70s, the speed craze of the 80s, the groove of the 90s, or the breakdown frenzy of the last decade and a half. To call their music progressive may be a bit of a stretch, as there isn’t anything new, innovative, or even particularly majestic happening on either of the two songs present, but that’s not to say it’s not a well-executed tribute to metal’s impressive history.
The one stagnant element present here is the lack of any sort of melody in the vocals. This isn’t always a problem in metal, but Jason Puder’s lack of any real range in his screams coupled with the midi drum programming just doesn’t serve to elevate some of the sections to the soaring levels they feel like they could achieve. It should be noted that barring certain rare and beautiful exceptions, most of metal’s greats have employed the use of the clean vocal at one point or another in their career.
It should also be noted that in general the criteria for a review from the friendly fellows at Bucketlist is three songs. An exception was made here because the music really is good, and given some key changes and natural evolution, a full length release from Skull Vultures could be quite a listen.
Written by Syd Ghan