Volture raise all sorts of questions for me.

Why has metal been so retro-obsessed for the past few years? Retro true metal, retro thrash, retro death metal, retro doom - '80s metal was great, and a lot of folks grew up then, but what's wrong with new ideas? Or is it just that - '80s metal was great, and a lot of folks grew up then? Do rockers always end up playing the music of their youth?

Some folks might say, "Because modern metal sucks". That's the point in the party where conversation stops and people look around awkwardly before returning to the cheese spread. I'm a little inclined to agree with "Because modern metal sucks", but only in the sense that modern production has ruined about 95% of modern metal records. (Meshuggah should have modern production, though.) Metal hasn't suddenly become bereft of ideas, especially with many more bands than before. With naturalistic production, modern metal would be much more exciting.

Some might also say, "Because '80s metal is the best!" Fair enough. But those classic records aren't going anywhere. And forgotten gems are seeing the light of day everywhere, thanks to the Internet. Does metal really need more bands that sound like the '80s?

Volture (and their label Heavy Artillery) think so. They want to have no new ideas, but they want to have good old ones. So we've heard all these riffs before - and it's been a while since they've been this shredding or fun. This entire band shreds, including bassist Ryan Waste (guitarist in Municipal Waste), and singer Brent Hubbard, who is really, really, really, glass-shatteringly good. It's a shame he sings about "Cheap Thrillz" and rehashes Judas Priest-style nonsense about heavy metal machines in, natch, "Heavy Metal Machines". But Priest have some of the worst lyrics ever penned in any genre of music, and they're one of my favorite bands ever in an any genre of music. Sure, lyrics matter, but when do I look the other way? When Rob Halford sings, that's when. That might be a sui generis case, but Hubbard does his damnedest to disagree. Such a little EP, so many invisible oranges.

— Cosmo Lee

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