Sound — 9
City of Vultures represents EMI-signed British metal band Rise to Remain's debut full length effort. Having toured with a star-studded cast of just about every major metal band going (Iron Maiden, Bullet For My Valentine, Trivium, Korn etc) over the past two years and off the back of just one EP, this album is arguably long overdue. Luckily, it delivers for the most part. You don't get signed to EMI as a metal band unless you're a little bit special and there are touches of class all over City of Vultures. It's obvious straight off the bat that fans of guitar solos are going to love this. Lead guitarist Ben Tovey is an absolute monster and from crushing opener The Serpent' right up until the last notes of Bridges Will Burn', which with it's outrageous swept arpeggiated runs is probably the zenith of the guy's playing on the LP, he delivers killer solo after killer solo. It's not all about shredding though and there are enough riffs on display here to enable City of Vultures to stand up alongside heavy metal's best. The Serpent's' verses channel the spirit of Lamb of God, the title track City of Vultures' is chaotic yet effective This Day Is Mine' is like a much punchier Bullet For My Valentine song and Power Through Fear' has the groove and bounce that most bands can only dream about writing. The drumming too is absolutely thunderous and Pat Lundy's double kick drums are all over this record. While the style of drumming is a little more minimalistic than some of his contemporaries, it is incredible effective and it provides the album with an incredible backbone. The bottom line is this: City of Vultures is rammed with great SONGS. Nothing overstays its welcome and nothing feels unnecessary, out of place or contrived. For a band so young and so green, that is very impressive indeed. The album ain't flawless though. Even though it's 12 songs in length, the album feels short and lacks a real change of pace and dynamic. We have to wait until the penultimate tracks Roads' for a change of pace which when it does come, it is actually quite well done and isn't overly saccharine, an easy trap to fall into.
Lyrics — 8
The vocal lines themselves, courtesy of Austin Dickinson (no, that surname isn't a co-incidence son of Bruce) are also largely successful and most prominent on the Trivium-esque Nothing Left' and the single-worthy Talking In Whispers'. An potential criticism however, would be the excessive vocal doubling going on on most if not all of the tracks. The vocal lines themselves are strong, but Dickinson's vocals are so layered that everything sounds a touch artificial. Consequently, the vocals very quickly grate on you, lose a bit of authenticity and power get all Matt Tuck on us instead of having any redeeming individuality which is a real shame.
Overall Impression — 8
On the whole then, City of Vultures is a pretty good effort. It's not going to send the shockwaves across the metal community like Ascendancy did for Trivium, but it's a very solid effort from a band that with their strong position is set to only get bigger. Expect big things. Acquire: God Can Bleed, The Serpent, Talking In Whispers.