It is a warm Friday evening in 1988, you grab your skateboard as you leave the local arcade after playing Ghouls n’ Ghosts with friends, and head towards that big neon sign above the video club to grab one or two of those cheesy horror B-movies that you will devour along with an equally cheesy pizza later that night. That is exactly what listening to “Dealin’ Death” by German thrashers Vulture feels like. In short, this album is pure 80’s retro awesomeness in the form of Metal.
As soon as the Tim Burton-esque intro “Danger is Imminent” starts, you know you’re in for a fun ride, and when “Malicious souls” starts ripping through with its razor-sharp riffs, that’s when the headbanging starts, and it doesn’t really stop for the next 40-odd minutes. This song is a perfect start to an album that tackles some of the most beloved metal clichés and nails them. Expect to find plenty of falsetto screams, breakneck riffs and cheesy horror lyrics in this package. Add a pinch of tongue-in-cheek theatricality and you have a very fun collection of songs.
The album moves on to “Count your blessings”, a solid track with amazing guitar work, and “Gorgon”, which is my personal favourite. Everything about this track is pure. Good luck removing that chorus from your brain. “Star-Crossed City” is another track that will satisfy any metalhead’s thirst, with sublime guitar harmonies that could’ve come directly from the hands of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith. Next are “Flee the Phantom” and “Below the Mausoleum”, in my opinion, the weakest songs in the whole album. They are perfectly decent tracks, but a bit lacking if you compare them to the rest of the album. The title track comes next and with it probably the biggest headbanger in the album, a fast-paced song that will certainly give you neck pain. The album closes with 2 strong songs: First, “Multitudes of Terror”, another solid thrasher that after a much-needed break in the form of a pretty epic intro, keeps the energy of the previous song flowing. And finally, the oddball that is “The Court of Caligula”, a fun and quirky song where Vulture takes the cheese levels to the maximum. This one is definitely among my top picks in this album (again, gotta love those maiden-esque guitar harmonies) although I don’t think this one is going be everyone’s cup of tea, and so, it makes for a ballsy pick as the album closer.
“Dealin’ Death” is an album that genuinely surprised me, as I am generally not very drawn to speed/thrash revival albums, but these guys manage to keep things fun and interesting with a collection of tracks that do not sound the same one to the other, and on the contrary, feels like the band made everything possible to avoid this, and still craft something that oozes 80’s nostalgia and ticks all the right boxes. Although there certainly are some songs that are less inspired than others, the lyrical quirkiness, overall tight musicianship, a very talented vocalist and one of the best guitar tones I have heard recently, make this a very fun listen throughout. “Dealin’ Death” is a love letter to the golden age of Speed/Thrash Metal.
Album highlights: Malicious Souls, Gorgon, Star-Crossed City, The Court of Caligula
For fans of: early Annihilator, Razor, Toxik, Helstar
Release Year: 2021
Label: Metal Blade Records
Reviewed by Roman Ibarra