Volture - On the edge 4/5

Reviewed: 12-1-13


1. On the edge
2. Ride the night
3. Desert pursuit
4. Brethren of the coast
5. Hot wired
6. Nightrane
7. Heat seeker
8. Rock you hard
9. Deep dweller

Y’know, Volture could really be the poster children for High Roller Records. The German label has carved out quite a niche in recent years as a bastion of top-shelf, old-fashioned traditional heavy metal, including both new bands and reissued dust-encrusted obscurities from the past. Virginia’s Volture fit in well with that aesthetic, from the studs’n’leather image to tunes that scream 1983 to a mascot consisting of a gigantic bird with glowing eyes that shoots lightning bolts out of its wings. (For the record, Volture’s mascot would eat Jorn’s for breakfast, and could kick Primal Fear’s mascot’s ass any day of the week.) Perhaps best known as the “other band” of Municipal Waste’s guitarist Ryan Waste (who switched to bass here), Volture also feature in their ranks Twisted Tower Dire guitarist Dave Boyd. After releasing their now-rare ‘Shocking its prey’ EP on Heavy Artillery Records in 2010, Volture made the leap to High Roller, replaced their lead singer, and recorded their full-length debut CD, ‘On the edge’.

Listening to ‘On the edge’ is like entering a time warp and erasing the last 3 decades of heavy metal history, in a good way. When you think about it, 1983 was a hell of a year for our beloved music. The New Wave of British Heavy Metal was in full flower, a couple of guys named Larz and Jaymz were experimenting with combining the melody of NWOBHM with the energy of punk, Iron Maiden were on the cusp of superstardom even as their sound remained raw and intense, and even bands like Motley Crue and Ratt were offering artistically viable hard’n’heavy music as they crawled out of the gutters and sewers of Sunset Strip. What’s really cool about Volture is their ability to fuse all of these elements together into a single cohesive 38-minute package. It sort of defies categorization. Singer Jack Bauer has a definite NWOBHM delivery, most songs bear quick tempos that recall speed metal, standout tracks like “Brethren of the coast” and “Deep dweller” ooze classic Iron Maiden in the riffs and arrangements, the guitar tone of Nick Poulos and Dave Boyd has that jagged ‘Kill ‘em all’/‘Heavy metal maniac’ vibe, and “Heat seeker” could lyrically and musically pass for an outtake from the heavier portions of the formative Motley Crue/Ratt discography. You wouldn’t think it would work, but everything on ‘On the edge’ fits together beautifully, just like it did in 1983, when we were all just metalheads, without all the subdivisions and classifications that separate us from each other today.

If that last bit sounded nostalgic, I guess that’s because Volture puts me in that mood. It’s simple, uncomplicated, awesome music that harkens back to a simpler time. And Volture pull it off masterfully. ‘On the edge’ just feels good. It’s music about rockin’ out, riding motorcycles, checking out hot chicks, casting off those shackles, and so on. Oh yeah, and pirates, too. You don’t need to follow along with the lyrics or map out the twists and turns in the songs, because it’s just straight-ahead, feel-good, hard-rockin’ stuff that doesn’t require much thought or analysis. You can crank up ‘On the edge’, roll down the windows, feel the wind blow through what’s left of your hair, and just let your mind go. To understand what Volture are all about, perhaps the best way to encapsulate it is to note that they recently went to California and played a number of dates opening for Diamond Head and Raven. It’s difficult to imagine a band more ideally predisposed to open for those iconic acts than Volture. Judging by the strength of these tunes, I’ll wager that Volture managed to hold their own every single night of that tour too, and that’s high praise.




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