Even on paper, a supergroup comprising of Bullet For My Valentine main man Matt Tuck and Liam Cormier of Cancer Bats seems a little bit dubious. Two bands with little to tie them together, both taking polar opposite approaches in their musicality and live delivery, going into ‘Vultures’, it’s difficult to see how this combination wouldn’t come across as a unsalvagable clash of styles. And, so it comes as little surprise that, for the most part, the album is a wildly dissapointing stab at something deviating from the day job, yet sounding confusingly familiar to simply the sum of its parts.
Whilst many may argue that AxeWound are not here to reinvent the wheel, the fact remains that the songs themselves need to offer at least a glimpse of invention or imagination to warrant any relevancy, but unfortunately what we are served up is an unwelcome dose of Bullet-esque pop metal sheen with Cormier‘s unsuited (yet still as viserally fercious) bark jarring with proceedings.
No more is this more prevelant than with the brace of singles, ‘Cold’ and ‘Exorchrist’. Packed with redundant, uninspired riff work and Tuck‘s insipid vocal contributions, the tracks truly come across as some of the most unforgivably tacked together metalcore that it would have sounded bland a decade ago. Predictable breakdowns and some banal chorus melodies see these tracks really best left forgotten.
The remainder of ‘Vultures’ is certainly a mixed bag. Some heads down thrashers, such as the title track and a particularly vehement ‘Victim Of The System’, rely favorably on Cormier‘s vicious bellowing and some instrumental violence which hits welcomly hard. Yet, we soon sway off track again with the faux gothic drama of ‘Collide’, where Tuck‘s intrusive appearance manages to derail any intensity with a nasal, cringeworthy performance routine of his primary outfit that he’s supposedly looking to escape from with AxeWound.
Ultimately, ‘Vultures’ as a whole seems to have been made to appeal more to Bullet For My Valentine fans than to be an actual melding of ideas. The majority of the songs here are painfully by numbers, and just so bewilderingly transparent we wonder how a band of such accomplished musicians perceived this material to be good enough. Cliched and essentially dull, straying just a little out of their collective comfort zones may have yielded some interesting results. Yet, as it is, there’s regrettably little that is ‘super’ about this supergroup.
Written by Tony Bliss