VULTURE INDUSTRIES – Ghosts From The Past (Album Review)

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Haunting odes pierce the evening gloom.

Horror-themed sitcoms The Munsters and The Addams Family might amuse the typical spectator when projected from the television screen, but one has to wonder what it would like to be in the actual presence of said characters and being unsure whether to run for the hills or laugh along with their abnormally normal antics. This is the sort of quandary that presents itself when attempting to interpret the quirky, carnival of oddities that goes with an avant-garde outfit such as Bergen, Norway’s own Vulture Industries. At first glance, they check all of the boxes of a band that graduated from the black metal wave of the 90s into a somber, Gothic sonic motif that could almost be fit for radio, but further examination they become as bizarre as the disposition of Herman Munster becoming one’s new manager at the office. Having been toiling about in the progressive realm since 1998 in one form or another, they are far from being newcomers to the scene, yet their first studio LP in 6 years Ghosts From The Past has a certain freshness to it that almost feels like this long-enduring quintet has reset their approach.

The manner by which this album catches the listener off guard is by largely sticking to a simple presentation filled with a generally predictable sense of progression, making those upcoming moments of jarring unorthodoxy all the more blatant. This is accomplished largely by sticking to a uniformly mid-paced rocking sense of tempo and an organic sense of groove established by the methodical beats of drummer Tor Helge Gjengedal and the shuffling steadiness of Kyrre Tiegan’s bass work, establishing that often resembles a lighter and less glassy take on Type O Negative. The parallels that this arrangement shares with Scandinavia’s extensive black metal sound are subtle, usually manifesting in slower melodic drones and minimalist rhythmic figures from guitarists Oyvind Madsen and Eivind Huse, and result in something of a spacey rocking vibe that contrasts with the still heavy foundation. Generally the twists that turn this from a morose carnival of Gothic grayness manifest in the various extra instruments and keyboards provided by front man Bjornar Nilsen, whose voice has a quasi-operatic melodramatic quality that further cuts against the mundane elements at play here, as well as the brass instrument input by guest contributor Hans Marius Andersen.

“Ghosts From The Past” Album Artwork

The result of these contrasting elements coming together is a series of seven songs that function as standalone art pieces that are drawn together by a unified sense of atmosphere and timbre. The opening anthem “New Lords Of Light” presents the most upbeat picture of what is largely a dreary anthology, coasting over a hypnotic bass and drum groove with intermitted guitar input that provides a vehicle for Nilsen’s menacing baritone, which conveys a chilling sense of fatalism despite its animated demeanor. The Black Sabbath-tinged crunch at a driving tempo “Saturn Devouring His Young” further underscores this album’s sense of harrowing storytelling given the part of Roman mythology being depicted and the fittingly bleak doom metal trappings surrounding it. The coasting gloom with a sorrowful trumpet theme that lands with a nodding stride chock full of infectious hooks dubbed “Deeper” treads the closest into a musical homage to the aforementioned horror sitcoms, complete with a haunting church organ, and stands as the most memorable entry of the lot, save for maybe the drawn out balladry and fits of rocking discontent of closing slough “Tyrants Weep Alone”, laying out a punishingly beautiful slab of minimalism that easily justifies its 9 minute length.

Though they will likely continue to be tied to the circus-like blackness of fellow avant-garde Nordic acts like Arcturus and Solefald, Vulture Industries has a harrowingly charming sense of distinctiveness that makes them a continually eligible listen for those with a penchant for the outlandish. And for the 20 years that they’ve been putting out material under this name (25 if counting their preceding stint under the name Dead Rose Garden), they haven’t lost any of the accompanying sense of novelty that continues to sell this music to those who are eternally desperate to be different from the throngs of conventional and otherwise semi-conventional metal. Ghosts From The Past is maybe a small rung beneath the quality of their seminal offerings in The Dystopia Journals and The Malefactor’s Bloody Register respectively, but it continues in the same traditional of said albums in merging the theatrically majestic with the macabre. It may or may not gel with those looking for a more mainline expression of Gothic metal, but it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to see a few Type O Negative fans taking to this as well.

Released By: Karisma Records
Release Date: June 16th, 2023
Genre: Avant-garde / Progressive Metal


  • Bjørnar Erevik Nilsen / Vocals and keys
  • Eivind Huse  / Guitars and vocals
  • Øyvind Madsen /Guitars
  • Kyrre Teigen / Bass and vocals
  • Tor Helge Gjengedal / Drums

“Ghosts From The Past” Track-Listing:

 1. New Lords Of Light
2. Saturn Devouring His Young
3. This Hell is Mine
4. Deeper
5. Right Here In The Dark
6. Not by Blood, But by Words
7. Tyrants Weep Alone

Order “Ghosts From The Past” at THIS LOCATION.

8.3 Great

Bleakness and the bizarre are the order of the day for one of Norway’s more outlandish exports, combining a generally straightforward Gothic template with a quirky sense of sonic and stylistic eclecticism to haunt the very soul of all within earshot of it

  • Songwriting 8.5
  • Musicianship 8
  • Originality 8.5
  • Production 8

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