I wasn’t too crazy about the last Vulture Industries record. The Dystopia Journals certainly has its qualities, but it’s also very much inspired by Arcturus. In fact being “inspired” is a liberal term for almost copying The Sham Mirrors and La Masquerade Infernale. The execution was flawless and The Dystopia Journals sounded more inspired than Sideshow Symphonies by Arcturus, but imitation is still imitation in my book. Let’s see whether the band have mend their ways on The Malefactor’s Bloody Register, their new album.
After a couple of spins I have to say that I’m quite content with The Malefactor’s Bloody Register. Truth be told, it’s a very good record. The Arcturus references are still there, but the band managed to find their own sound. Having an original sound of your own is always good. The Malefactor’s Bloody Register shares the vaudevillian horror atmosphere of Arcturus’ La Masquerade Infernale, but has a harsher edge, especially in the vocal department. Points in case: Race For The Gallows, The Hangman’s Hedge and The Bolted Door.
I Hung My Heart On Harrow Square and Of Branded Blood have this cool seventies prog rock vibe around them, thanks to the Hammond organ parts by Herbrand Larsen (Enslaved). In some ways both songs remind me of Audrey Horne with a more experimental edge. Singer Björnar E. Nilsen has an uncanny resemblance to Kristoffer Rygg (Ulver, ex-Arcturus), especially in the lower vocal department. I guess that explains why I keep comparing The Malefactor’s Bloody Register to The Sham Mirrors by Arcturus.
Production wise there’s nothing to complain about the album, thanks to the capable hands of Vulture Industries‘ own Björnar Nilsen and mixer Brian Gardner (David Bowie, Isis, Nine Inch Nails).
Luckily Vulture Industries managed to find their own face on The Malefactor’s Bloody Register. This album has a lot of musical adventure and progressive wizardry to offer. In fact, it’s way better than what Arcturus did before their break-up. I just hope Vulture Industries keep on evolving and get rid of their Arcturus imitation stigma. Nonetheless, The Malefactor’s Bloody Register is a great step in the right direction!
written by Raymond Westland