I expected Sleepless, Maor Appelbaum's earlier collaboration with David Bendayan, to be World Music/Goth in the Ofra Haza meets Dead Can Dance mode. Instead, it was a smooth, polished work which evoked mid-period Pink Floyd. I was ready for more of the same when I received Vultures, his latest project: imagine my surprise when my eardrums were bombarded with Ministry-Meets-Merzbow-Meets-Metal! If nothing else, Maor wins points for diversity.
The opening track, "Internal Plea", starts things off with a scream... literally. Vocalist Rani Zager sounds like he's been gargling drain cleaner. His harsh shrieks pierce through the grinding guitars and throbbing drum machines like a stilleto. Zager's It's not easy listening ... but if you're in a shitty mood, it certainly is cathartic. (And let's face it; if you live in the Suicide Bombing Capital of the World, you've got anxiety and gloom to spare).
Gal Cohen's guitar work plays no small role in this band's success. Once upon a time every band had a guitar player: for many bands today, electric guitars have gone the way of mullet haircuts. The distorted metallic chords which underpin "Vulture's Splendor" shows just what they're missing. An amplified string instrument produces harmonics and undertones which cannot be duplicated on even the best synthesizers. (This, incidentally, is the reason why electronic pianos sound so silly next to acoustic baby grands).
I'd like to see a live drummer included on the next Vultures CD. As it is with guitars, so it is with drums; no machine can recreate the sound of a Real Live Human beating the hell out of his skins. A live drummer would take these proceedings over the top. Still, this is a strong and worthy effort. If you like hard industrial music, it doesn't come much harder -- or better -- than this.
1) Internal Plea
Gal Cohen: Guitars, Noises