VENUE: Det Akademiske Kvarter
DATE: 09.03.2024
ORGANIZER: Propulsion Music
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A concert like no other? You bet! The musically rewarding yet deviant purveyors of dramatic and carnivalesque avantgarde metal (or dark and dynamic rock, if you will), namely the enticing Vulture Industries, did something out of the ordinary at Kvarteret in the city center of Bergen last night. To commemorate the anniversary of their stellar output titled The Tower, they performed the whole wicked thing in its entirety – the prospect of which was exciting in and of itself – but ever the showmen they stumbled on the idea of embellishing and enhancing the experience by means of a visually impressive stage set conceived by the uniquely gifted artist Costin Chioreanu and the brilliant performance group known as the Happy Gorilla Dance Company. Merging the music with such a visually intriguing stage set and performers who acted out various roles throughout the performance made for a hugely memorable event that left the keen observers and listeners with a lot to absorb both during the show and afterwards. I dare say that many of us in attendance felt more than just a little exhilarated when witnessing the spectacle.

Few records are as stimulating as those conceived by this consistently great band and although my personal favorite is their latest output, Ghosts from the Past (2023), The Tower stands tall and proud (see what I did there?) as one of their finest creations to date and has lost none of its power to thrill and move the listener since it saw the light of day back in 2013. What has changed is the level of confidence displayed by the entire band nowadays compared to ten years ago and I cannot recall them EVER having played with such ferocious vigor nor can I remember having heard frontman Bjørnar E. Nilsen stamp the compositions with such a staggering amount of authority as he did at Det Akademiske Kvarter. The collective experience of the group these past many years has obviously resulted in them becoming better and better with age, and there is a certain beauty to that. But yeah, the ensemble walked on stage and launched into The Tower and we were officially off to the races. The sound was punchy but lacked some clarity and was slightly murky at times, but knowing the songs well made you overlook that. Roughly fifty minutes in the fire alarm went off, which forced everyone including the band to step outside and hang around for fifteen minutes before the musical shenanigans could continue, but the amazing thing was that the concert did not lose even an inch of momentum. The group and audience picked up right where they left off and by some miracle the sound was actually better from that point on. Bjørnar and his talented cohorts had more in store for us afterwards and the gig was essentially divided into two parts; one devoted to The Tower and the second half revolving around classic tracks, fan favorites, and deep cuts that had never been aired in public before. Picking highlights is no easy task but there were four tunes that gave me the frigging chills and a stiffy, more specifically ‘Strangers’, ‘The Pulse of Bliss’, ‘Deeper’, and ‘Tyrants Weep Alone’. The latter had never been performed live before and had they only played that ominous and thought-provoking one then I would have walked away happy and satisfied – it was THAT captivating.

These days I am finding it harder and harder to categorize and label Vulture Industries, and I am thankful that is the case. Are they more closely related to goth rock and morose Americana with a theatrical twist these days than experimental metal? Do we give a fuck? No, they continually push the envelope and progress, and I have yet to see or hear them fail in conjuring up an atmosphere unlike anything else both on record and on the stage. The only problem facing them now is that the inclusion of saxophone and keyboards added so much depth and color to their compositions last night that they really ought to consider expanding the line-up and permanently add the sinister, noir-ish, and strangely sexy tones and nuances that those two instruments bring to the table.

A night to remember and quite arguably the most focused and muscular-sounding performance by Vulture Industries that this scribe has ever had the good fortune to see and hear.    

Editor note: another item to add to the list of special treats the night had to offer: it was the first time that the artist Costin Chioreanu, responsible for a lot of the band’s artwork (and a multitude of artworks in the metal world in general) has spent the last songs on a chair on stage and he made live drawings. For the first time ever. That was absolutely impressive to witness. Hope those images will soon be showcased

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