Swedish Heavy Metal with a healthy dose of Motorhead influence, a match made in heaven, right? Well, that’s what Gothenburg based Metal practitioners Bombus are aiming for with the release of their brand-new album Vulture Culture.
The band’s fourth full length record is a loud, proud, no frills attached brute of an album. From the gritty vocals of Feffe Berglund to the thundering rhythm section, which drives the band relentlessly forwards, Bombus and Vulture Culture are all about power. And lots of it.
The brilliantly titled opening track ‘A Ladder – Not A Shovel’ is a bombastic epic from start to finish. If this crunching shot across the bow is your introduction to the band then the 6-minute behemoth will teach you all you need to know. ‘(You Are All Just) Human Beings’ picks up the baton next as the blistering barrage of noise and towering guitar solos continues.
Just when you’re settling in and getting comfortable ‘Mama’ switches things up to keep you on your toes. It’s a real song of 2 halves. The first is more of the same, but the second, after what is essentially a short interlude sees the band explore a slower, and more Doom influenced style. And the results are pleasant surprise. Much of the album is full throttle or nothing, so this minor detour is a welcome moment of calm.
However, it is with the arrival of what is essentially a power ballad in ‘It’s All Over’, where problems begin to arise. The structure, it’s guitar solos, and the overall sound of the song make it sound horribly dated, while ‘In The Shadows’ sees the band revert back to what brought them to the dance. And as much as it’s a tried and tested formula, it signals the end of any kind of innovation or variation on the record.
The snarling ‘We Lost A Lot Of Blood Today’ and the tracks that follow are not fundamentally bad tracks, they just lack the spark and invention to really capture the imagination. Even lyrically the album is pretty unremarkable fare. And yes, bands like Motorhead and AC/DC did make entire careers doing this, but they were writing songs like ‘Ace Of Spades,’ ‘Overkill,’ and ‘Back In Black.’ And as decent as this album is, there isn’t anything nearing that level of quality on display. If you’re going to have one trick, it needs to be a pretty incredible one.
All of that being said, it’s difficult to be too down on Vulture Culture. It’s not a bad album by any stretch of the imagination. It just lacks that spark and sprinkle of special something to really stop you in your tracks. It’s solid and dependable, and while it won’t let you down, it’s doesn’t excite either. It’s the very definition of a solid album.
Vulture Culture is uncomplicated and true to the band's Heavy Metal roots. It screams and roars, crashes and growls but it lacks the magic to take it from good to great; from solid, to record of the year. Vulture Culture is a damn good listen, just not quite a damn amazing listen.