Blood Tsunami- Grand Feast For Vultures (Candlelight/Earsplit)

Does anyone know how to say 'Slayer' in Norwegian? Blood Tsunami show no mercy to powerslaves at the altar of sacrifice, but is this the thing that should not be?

I'm happier than a pig in shit that we exist in a world where true high quality thrash metal is alive and well! Reviewing Blood Tsunami's Grand Feast For Vultures has reminded me of how thrash metal has fairly recently been rescued from some very dark times.

Some of you out there that may just be discovering thrash metal might not realise just how lucky we truly are. Thrash suffered a dead period throughout the 90s where many great acts ceased to be or sold out with impunity (I'm pointing at you Metallica!). Then in the late 90s we were plagued by a rash of 'retro-thrash', which consisted of acts put together mainly by musicians from black metal bands ripping off riffs and lyrics in ‘tribute’ to their 80s thrash influences. At first this was a worthy novelty, but it quickly turned into a trendy and ridiculous parody. For the last handful of years, those of us that moshed in the era of skinny black jeans and ultra white puffy high-top sneakers have been blessed with thrash that may not be completely original, but it is definitely more authentic than what we heard in those ‘retro’ days.

Blood Tsunami, which features Bard Faust (ex-Emperor) on drums, like all other modern thrash bands, may be called ‘derivative’, but hell, thrash metal is not a new style. However, Blood Tsunami utilises the very best aspects of their musical influences and delivers them with power and authenticity.

Grand Feast For Vultures, the band’s follow up to 2007’s Thrash Metal, features the ‘feeling’ of Slayer and pre-Black Album Metallica, a dash of good ol’ Iron Maiden, the screams of Bathory, and just a pinch of modern black metal for relevance, all rolled into one magnificently performed package. Grand Feast For Vultures doesn’t sound like it came directly from the 80s, but instead sounds like it was delivered by a band that was there, evolved with the scene, and survived with its integrity attached.

The opening track, Castle of Skulls, begins with a very Slayer-esque riff and pays homage to their forefathers with lyrical tips of the hat like ‘Show no mercy, kill on sight, aggression unrestrained, fight till death! No turning back’. The track Personal Exorcism has a much more pronounced modern black metal approach, but doesn’t come across as out of place on the album. The most impressive pieces are found at the end of the album. The instrumental epic Horsehead Nebula and the non-instrumental, but equally as epic, One Step Closer To the Grave are tracks that remind me most of Iron Maiden and old Metallica with their superb guitar harmonies, neck snapping thrash riffage, and impressive solos.

Grand Feast for Vultures may not win any awards for originality, but for absolute quality of musicianship alone it’s a winner. In a scene where it’s all been done before, it’s remarkable that a growing number of bands like Blood Tsunami are able to give us whiplash without blatantly ripping off the ancient lords of metal.

Blood Tsunami's Grand Feast for Vultures is out now on Candlelight/Earsplit.