Vulture Industries from Bergen makes their return in 2017 (four years after The Tower) with their new album, Stranger Times. The new album does not take the band in any new direction, but rather keeps them going steadily forward with the expression we have come to expect from these weird, circus-like musicians.

The album starts off with Tales of Woe. This song is a bit rock n roll, but with some grotesque undertones that are pushed forward by Bjørnar Nilsen’s creepy vocals. The main riff of the song is catchy, and it is easy to listen to. The song breaks into short silences in between the verses and the chorus. This makes the chorus more noticable, and it pushes the changes in atmosphere naturally to the forefront of the soundscape. Refreshing start of any album when a band decides not to have some long and skippable intro track.

As the World Burns takes the album down to a calmer mood, but it keeps the same dense atmosphere. This song might not become a fan favourite due to the somewhat melow appearance of the tones, but if you give it a few listens, you will notice more and more elements revealing themselves. This is the trademark of a truly great track. The lyrics are silly in the same way that all of Vulture Industries’ lyrics are balancing on the border of sillyness, and in some spots, the vocals could have used another take in the studio, but it’s nothing that breaks the song.

Next up is Strangers. This song is a rather nice ballad that builds up the tempo from the last song a little bit. At this point it feels like the band has torn down their structure after "Tales of Woe", as well as slowly rebuilding from "As the World Burns" and onwards. It ends up being an interesting sound for the album, and the atmosphere gets some extra layers. The Beacon also builds the weird ambiance in the same way, and the weird, circus feeling is more present. The only issue is that it seems to be reaching for some sort of threshold that just doesn’t seem to be there (yet anyway). "The Beacon" is one of the weaker songs of the album, even though it too has alot of enjoyable moments, especially with the guitars in the background. Something Vile draws a beautiful image with it’s melodic and soothing feel. The vocals, rythms and melodies all float nicely together, and it blends in a weird, yet intriguing mix. The song clocks in at 4:17, which actually feels a little short for this track. It is calm, but never boring. There are some interesting elements in the drums department of this songs that makes the song a bit more dynamic.

The track My Body, My Blood, is a short track that doesn’t really work. It almost seems like an intro for the next song, but not really. It just doesn’t help the album in the quest for progress. It simply didn’t work the way it was probably intended.

Gentle Touch of a Killer is definetly onto something, but it just comes out as a somewhat filler-esque track. It’s fine, but nothing great. It just doesn’t quite hit the mark, and it ends up feeling too long with too little interesting happening.

8th track, and second to last is Screaming Reflections. This is more what this band should focus on. It falls nicely into the "good" category, with interesting vocals, fun riffs and nice drum beats. The song is entertaining and showcases greatly why this band is in a class for itself. Hand in hand with the last track of the album, Midnight Draws Near, these two songs push the interesting, epic, weird feeling that Vulture Industries is known for giving. Everything in these two songs work perfectly.

Stranger Times is far from a flawless album. There is way too much down time on the album that gives the impression that alot of it is made up of filler material. The songs that shine, they really, really shine, though. The thing this album is missing is more punch. It doesn’t have to be alot, but enough to make the songs a bit more interesting at times. The last album got it right, whereas Stranger Times got it right sometimes.



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