Grand Feast for Vultures by Blood Tsunami
Release date : April 2009
Reviewed by Eric Stephens
In late August 2008, it was revealed that Blood Tsunami would enter Oslo, Norway's Lion Heart Studios in the fall of 2008 to cut a sophomore album for an early 2009 issue via Candlelight Records / Nocturnal Art Productions. Production was handled by the group with help from Andre Cosmo Søgnen, whilst engineering was overseen by Øyvind Voldmo Larsen. Once again, artwork duties were completed by Alex Horley. During mid November 2008, Blood Tsunami supported Satyricon for a handful of Norwegian dates.
In late February 2009, it was revealed that Grand Feast for Vultures would be issued in Europe on April 27th and in the U.S. on May 5th. During late March, the track “Castle of Skulls” was made available for streaming via the group's official MySpace page. One week prior to Grand Feast for Vultures' release, Blood Tsunami issued the digital EP Castle of Skulls via iTunes, which included “Killing Spree” and “Evil Unleashed” (both lifted from 2007's Thrash Metal), as well as the previously unreleased composition “Suicide Anthem”. During late April, an e-card surfaced in support of Grand Feast for Vultures.
Blood Tsunami's sophomore full length, namely Grand Feast for Vultures, firmly wraps itself within Thrash Metal's blanket. The album wholly showcases both the cryptic shouts and lead guitar of Pete Evil (Peter Michael Kolstad Vegem), not to mention the backing Death throat and lead guitar of Dor Amazon (Kristoffer Sørensen). Blood Tsunami's other members, meanwhile, take a back seat so to speak. This isn't to say that the bass from Bosse (Peter Boström) and the drumming from Faust (Bård G. Eithun) drumming don't serve a purpose, though from a production standpoint at least, these two components prove to be the least audible whilst Blood Tsunami performs as an entity. Structurally, the album's tracks model themselves upon late eighties' most popular Thrash, though its unique blend of high screams and low vocals lend Grand Feast for Vultures its own identity.
Immediately launching into a Slayer induced frenzy in terms of guitar, “Castle of Skulls” sprints away, waging a battle between the pick and the string. Close upon its heels, a screaming solo follows, daubing the material with a splendid touch. Closely approaching its three minute mark, the music builds within “Castle of Skulls”, giving rise to a classic Thrash Metal moment between dual lead guitars. Several minutes later, another screeching guitar solo materializes, a dual vocal assault waiting in the wings all the while. During its opening segments, “Personal Exorcism” veers into such a fret hysteria that fingers squeaking upon the strings whilst attempting to rapidly jump from chord to chord are extremely audible. “Laid to Waste”'s initial moments provide an extremely brief respite from Thrash stylings somewhat, a guitar solo steadily climbing the high pitched scales, yet subsequently favouring familiar Thrash ingredients.
Skipping through the seemingly hefty amount of recycled Thrash riffs, Grand Feast for Vultures' second and greater half begins. Spanning slightly more than twelve minutes, the instrumental “Horsehead Nebula” casts a wholly differing musical light upon Blood Tsunami. Finally, Faust's drumming is audible, yet is mainly audible as a falling effect occurs behind the guitars, which further build the number. These guitars lead immediately into another classic riff, the riff in question lying firmly in Iron Maiden's vein. An additional monster in itself, “One Step Closer to the Grave” further exhibits Blood Tsunami within a more mature, refined guise in terms of their approach towards music. Alone, the guitar work prevalent upon “Horsehead Nebula” and “One Step Closer to the Grave” is purposefully driven, and highlights a natural jamming ethic from Pete Evil, Dor Amazon and the rest of Blood Tsunami's personnel.
Essentially, Grand Feast for Vultures is two EPs paired together. Whilst the initial half is a jaded attempt at recreating classic Thrash, the final two numbers are almost wholly distinct. Blood Tsunami should concentrate on penning material in the vein of “Horsehead Nebula” and “One Step Closer to the Grave”, since even Evil and Amazon's vocal partnership upon “One Step Closer to the Grave”, though brief, extremely drives home the track's chorus. Should you wish to hear Slayer induced Thrash, then listen to Grand Feast for Vultures' inaugural half. If you wish to hear Blood Tsunami performing unique Metal, on the other hand, then listen to the album's two swansong instrumentals.