Vultures Gathering is a collaborative effort from three musicians from around the world. Chaz Bond (BioGenesis) in Ohio, USA was contacted to do clean vocals for a Malaysian metal band of which Andre Chiang was a member. Andre (Shamash, Necromanicide) and Chaz hit it off and started talks of a side project that would be Gothenburg style with a nod to NWOBHM. They wanted the music to be dark, somber and melodic with deep lyrics. After Chaz and Andre finished the first song, Andre introduced Ryan Roebuck (Ritual Servant, Motivik) from Georgia, USA to the project and the lineup was solidified. They signed with Roxx Records and released their debut album, The Hunt, on April 14, 2023.
Given their main bands and what they wanted to accomplish, I was intrigued to see how it would pull together. Upon my first listen, the album felt dark. Not that I have synesthesia, but a dark gray shade came to mind. Their style is a pseudo-power metal style that makes use of thrash metal riffs and chords underlying power metal vocals. Lead guitars and keyboards add some extra color from time to time, but tend to be ornamental. Most of the songs are heavy with a couple of lighter songs thrown in like “This Darkened Embrace” and “A Knock on the Door.” The songs are progressive and constantly shifting where often I couldn’t tell if riffs used before came back later.
What worked well on this album were the rhythm guitar and the use of keyboards. First off, I am an old school thrash metal fan and I really dig the riffs on this album. There were times that I felt that the faster picking could have been cleaner, but generally executed rather well. The keyboards were not very prominent, but when they came in, it really lifted up the songs. The keyboard motif in “The Hunt” really saved the song for me.
Unfortunately, there was quite a bit that didn’t work well. In their attempt at progressive metal, it felt the more they changed, the more it felt the same and it just went on for too long. An example is the guitar solo on “False Crown” which starts out strong but then moves into aimless noodling to fill in the space. The song is excess of 8 minutes, but really could be trimmed down to a four minute song. The other issue was where the vocals didn’t fit in with the rest of the music. Some of that is poor mixing of the vocals. Softer songs like “Knock on the Door” should have the voice come out more in the mix, but I hear it getting buried with the various layers so you miss the full effect. The other reason vocals didn’t fit was the mismatch between Chaz’s vocal melody and thrashy riffs underneath. When there were power chords in support, the vocals sounded much better.
“Candle Wax” I think is the best song of the bunch where the good parts aligned. The song is a softer song, with more of an emphasis on somber and sweet harmonies in the chords. There is this keyboard lick that is unexplainably catchy for me. Chaz’s vocal execution was good and fit with the more chordal music underneath. The lead guitar lines were melodic and stuck in my head for a while. Zharlie Sambeko (Shadows of Paragon) lends her voice to help with the story telling and makes for a quite enjoyable listen.
I would say that if you are a fan of the bands that Vultures hails from, this may be worth checking out. I believe that each of the musicians turned in better work from their main bands and the mixing of the different musicians could have been executed better if the songwriting tailored more to the relative strengths of the musicians.
Written by Sean Bailey
1 – In Plain Sight
2 – False Crown
3 – The Hunt
4 – This Darkened Embrace
5 – In Paradise
6 – Candle Wax
7 – America (Bloodgood cover)
8 – A Knock On The Door
9 – Truth Be Told
Vultures Gathering is:
Chaz Bond – vocals
Andre Chiang – rhythm guitar, bass, drums, keys
Ryan Roebuck – lead guitar
Guest: Zharlie Sambeko on “Candle Wax”
Release Date: April 14, 2023
Record Label: Roxx Records
Social Media: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify
Video for ‘In Plain Sight’
Video For ‘America’