Vengeful Ghoul – Timeless Warfare
Reviewed by Kylie McInnes
Ooh, power-thrash! It’s hard for me to not get excited when I hear a band describe themselves as this, since it’s usually a sub-genre used by fans and not artists themselves (such as Iced Earth calling themselves “melodic metal”). Though Istanbul’s (not Constantinople’s) Vengeful Ghoul isn’t quite what I’d call “power-thrash” (there’s very little power metal in here; the basic feel of Timeless Warfare is heavy traditional metal with thrashy riffs and far more doom influence), it’s very good at what it tries to be..
“Chained Freedom” opens things up with a very Black Sabbath feel; you can hear Tony Iommi’s crushing riffage in the opening riff (once the little explosions and chugging intro bit passes, anyways) followed by a great mid-tempo thrashy Black Sabbath-like riff courtesy of Senem Ündemir. (And what do you know, a band with a female rhythm guitarist, and she’s not even a selling point! Progress?) Vocalist Emre Kasapoğlu pulls off some great Ripper Owens-style screams as well (and guess what, he doesn’t suck at it!), and has a very doomy-sounding clean style, further hammering the point that Vengeful Ghoul is thrashy doom (but not “groove thrash,” thankfully).
And like a lot of doom (and even doom-ish stuff), Timeless Warfare tends to drag on a bit. Four songs top the 7-minute mark and only “Under Control” is under 5 minutes. While there aren’t many bad ideas here, there are a lot of ideas thrown about that could have made another couple of songs and improved the pacing. A prime example is the single, “Ruthless Crow.” There’s a slow mid-section in an otherwise crunching thrasher, and it kills the feel; it’s the cardinal sin of a slow part for the sake of having a slow part. Otherwise, it’s a damn good headbanger.
“Under Control”, “The Search For Apeiron”, and “Timeless Warfare” round out the “very good” songs here. “Under Control” is a rather straightforward, mid-tempo, heavy rocker that explodes into a great up-tempo riff at the end, and the other two are very well-constructed kinda-sorta epic thrashers. “Schaukelstuhl” and “Fire And Spell” are the only two tracks I’d put into the skip-worthy side of things, since I’m not too into the really slow and brooding doom that’s present here.
Performance-wise, Vengeful Ghoul is phenomenally tight. Ms. Ündemir and lead guitarist Özgür Nair are a great tandem, and Mr. Nair’s leads wouldn’t be out of place on a Randy Shawver-era Iced Earth album (where the lead guitar is for delivering melodies and harmonies rather than face-melting shredathon solos). Drummer Volkan Beykoz is great behind the kit as well. The production is slick and everything is clear, which is rare for a self-produced album.
If you’re into Iced Earth and Black Sabbath at the same time, Vengeful Ghoul should definitely get picked up on your radar. There are enough good riffs from both sets of influences to appease fans of both styles, and it’s quite the enjoyable listen. Definitely not a turkey.
3.75 // 5