Review: Vulture Industries’ Ghosts from the Past is an Complicated Dose of Sonic Hemlock


Hailing from Bergen, Norway, Vulture Industries has captivated audiences with their unique artistic voice. Known for their experiments with progressive, avant-garde rock/metal, Vulture Industries is set to return Friday, June 16 with the release of their upcoming album, Ghosts from the Past. Just as they did with previous albums, the band has once again reinvented their sound, combining eclectic influences and pushing toward an unsettling new brand of dark rock.

There are those who will describe Ghosts from the Past as a brilliant homage to eccentricity. This seven-song offering begins with a bang, as “New Lords of Light” immediately demands your attention. This catchy track is arguably the record’s best and most engaging song thanks to its infectious and at times highly dance-able energy.

And while there are numerous enjoyable parts throughout the album, the track titled “This Hell Is Mine” showcases an issue I had with the record that stood out to me: the lyrics. Unfortunately, the lyrical quality falls flat at multiple times throughout the album. While Ghosts from the Past is a cynical record about a world that’s crumbling and succumbing to the external forces of oppression, it’s not without a playfulness and satire that miss their mark. Take these lines from the final song, “Tyrants Weep Alone”:

“Man, you gotta know, if you keep staring at the world through reflective brass…
It will show that your own head is in the way of what you’re trying to grasp,
and your head’s a long way up your ass.”

In addition to guitars, bass, and drums, Ghosts from the Past also features trumpet, sax, keys, and even a bit of accordion. Although this sounds exciting, the various elements don’t meld together as well as they could have on this effort. At times, I personally found Bjørnar Nilsen’s vocals generally had room for improvement and proved monotonous, even irksome at times.

While Ghosts from the Past may not have the most organic sounding production, its purposely bombastic tone will surely be admired by many listeners for its unique effect, as it oftentimes complements the album’s themes.

Overall, Ghosts from the Past is both cinematic and theatrical. One of Vulture Industries’ strongest assets is their ability to conjure unsettling images. The album mimics the mood of Spaghetti Westerns with a bit of a noir touch that may or may not evoke a true sense of danger.

Ghosts from the Past is not a sexy offering, but, again, it is a highly individualistic work. Ultimately, this album comes across as both fresh and a bit stale in the team’s pursuit of nostalgia and innovation. Many listeners are bound to love and even rave about this record. After all, Vulture Industries boasts a rare type of charisma. All the same, their music is not meant to resonate with everyone.

Ultimately, Ghosts from the Past is a dystopian carnival that you should experience for yourself. This haunting journey will certainly alter your perception of modern music.

Vulture Industries’ Ghosts from the Past will be released next Friday, June 16.

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