Vulture Industries at Boston Music Rooms

Support: code| Talanas
November 9, 2017 at Boston Music Rooms
Promoter: Old Empire

Talanas, extreme metal gentlemen, open up tonight’s buffet of experimental extremity, bringing a full-on onslaught of savage, slightly Gothic death metal, offbeat between-song banter (“actually, it looks kind of like a leather mess, which we can be at times as well”) and an actual buffet – offering biscuits during their closing number. The set is a cracker (sorry) from a band that are the (custard) cream of the crop (sorry) of London extreme metal. They’ve seemingly been around forever (from the Victorian era at least), and it’s great to see such a quality band back touring.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that <code> were the Norwegian act on the bill, such is the quality and ferocity of their blackened fury. For a band that hasn’t toured for two years, they don’t sound rusty in the slightest – the intensity of the black metal playing off with the vocal experimentation – except for when it comes to stage banter. Their vocalist apologises after the first song for their lack of competence in that department (someone asks him to “read out your shopping list”), but it doesn’t really hinder them, such is the sheer darkness they conjure when playing. It leaves you hoping for a permanent return.

Vulture Industries are a fucking incredible live band, and seeing them live without any expectations is an experience in of itself (spoiler alert: if you wish to experience this, feel free to stop reading). Even with this, my third time seeing them live, it’s no less surreal. ‘Tales of Woe’ and ‘Strangers’ show off the quality of new album Stranger Times, and the rougher feel they have live is something which suits ‘The Pulse of Bliss’. Bjørnar Nilsen is the sort of vocalist you can’t keep your eyes off, spending the best part of the three opening songs jittering round the stage like a badly controlled marionette, or someone who’s onto their seventeenth coffee of the hour, before ending up screaming into someone’s face in the middle of the crowd or atop a speaker stack. ‘The Tower’ is the first track to make full use of his inimitable showmanship, from preaching the rules with venom, to the maniacal, almost Gollum-esque explanation of why the tower was built. ‘The Hound’ is slow and brooding, Nilsen the ominous storyteller, as it twists through ten minutes of darkness. He’s not afraid to joke around either: ‘The Bolted Door’ is only in the set “to fuck with my voice”. The centrepiece and closer of a Vulture Industries show is ‘Blood Don’t Eliogabalus’, a labyrinthine cluster-fuck of a song lovingly mangled from an older number of theirs – ‘Blood Don’t Flow Streamlined’ – and containing pretty much all their moods in one song. From the circus themes that prompt Nilsen to lead a conga-line, to the eerie midsection, it’s an intense experience, and amazing that it comes in at under ten minutes. Thoroughly bonkers, in the best possible way.

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