Blood Tsunami - _Grand Feast for Vultures_
(Candlelight Records / Nocturnal Art Productions, 2009)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (7 out of 10)
Norway is generally famous for its cold climate and mountainous landscapes, but when one mentions music, black metal is probably the first that comes to mind. That's not the case with Blood Tsunami, however. In fact, their only tie with black metal is their drummer Faust (Emperor's drummer on the iconic album _In the Nightside Eclipse_) but at first listen, he doesn't sound like a black metal drummer by any stretch of the imagination; in fact, he's an outright thrasher beating the skins senseless.

_Grand Feast for Vultures_ is actually a feast for thrash metal fans that runs through seven tracks in more than 50 minutes. The first track is "Castle of Skulls", which sets the pace for the rest of the record with its fast tempo and successful blend of thrash and melody. It could be considered as the track that includes the sum of the album's parts, yet not extensively. The standards of dynamics are kept high thanks to the 'escalation of insanity' scream on "Nothing but Contempt" and the short yet vicious title track. "Personal Exorcism" encompasses almost everything that constitutes a powerful thrashing piece: chugging mid-tempo riffs, double bass drumming, tremolo picked melodies and vein bursting vocals.

The vocals have a hint of the black metal shrieks, which may be a turn off for the orthodox thrasher, but not to worry; just like Blood Tsunami's debut album (the boldly named) _Thrash Metal_ had an epic instrumental, _Grand Feast for Vultures_ has its own under the moniker "Horsehead Nebula". Clad with melodies and with a duration exceeding the twelve minute mark, this is Blood Tsunami's magnum opus to date. Faust does well to copy the roots of a riff on his ride cymbal and the double guitar melody just ups the ante on the creativity of this outstanding piece.

In terms of musicianship, _GFfV_ is a momentous step forward for this Norwegian outfit and an effort that combines their perceptible affinity to thrash metal and also their fascination with expressive lead guitar melodies. This band is definitely growing in confidence and have the potential to be a strong name in the retro-thrash household if they play their cards right and keep heading in that direction.


(article published 4/1/2010)

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