Featuring Bullet for My Valentine guitarist/vocalist Matt Tuck and Cancer Bats frontman Liam Cormier alongside Glamour of the Kill guitarist Mike Kingswood, former Rise to Remain bassist Joe Copcutt and Pitchshifter drummer Jason Bowld, AxeWound find themselves in the dubious super group category.
As members of two of the most exciting, energetic and polarising bands to have burst onto the metal scene in recent years, Tuck and Cormier’s debut collaboration has been both hotly anticipated and intensely scrutinised. Does it deliver more than just the sum of its parts, or is it simply a haphazard mash-up of sounds?
From the outset, the sheer intensity of Vultures sets it apart from any of the musicians’ so-called day jobs. Cancer Bats fans will get hooked in by Cormier’s visceral, throat-ripping roars, but BFMV followers – particularly those who’ve come on board since the band graduated into arenas – may find the all-out aural assault overwhelming.
In an effort to capture what Tuck calls the “don’t give a f***” attitude of Pantera and Slipknot – two of his main inspirations – the band worked fast, recording everything in under two weeks with nothing written or rehearsed beforehand. The results are darker and edgier than anything Tuck or Cormier have previously put their names to.
Staccato riffs and thudding rhythms thrash and crash in a breathless barrage of brutality. To the obvious Pantera and Slipknot influences add a smattering of post-modern Slayer and Roots-era Sepultura.
It’s not all fast and furious of course; Tuck and Cormier’s combined ear for melody is strong, and the likes of Exorchrist and the pseudo-epic Collide offer at least a little respite. Lyrically, it’s fairly predictable state-of-the-world and personal empowerment stuff, although Cormier clearly has the charisma to carry it off. Tuck shines through a seemingly endless series of frenetic guitar solos; a nod perhaps to the far-flung days when metal was virtually mainstream.
Vultures isn’t an album we’ll be talking about 20 years from now, but for thrills, spills and hair-raising heaviness, it gets the job done in style.
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