‘A Feast of Vultures’ is the title of Josy Josef’s dissection of money and corruption in India’s modern democracy; the dove is of a symbol of peace. So now we’re up to speed, it makes perfect sense that the title of these Italian peace punks’ second offering should pull from the two threads. Like their self-titled record, this was originally released on cassette before getting a vinyl from Drunken Sailor (hey, that’s this label right here!), and it certainly deserves to be heard by as many ears as possible.
You’ll be able to hear the ominous rumble of anarcho forebears The Mob and Crass (circa ‘Penis Envy’, thanks to its serrated chords) in A Culture Of Killing’s addictive sonic assault, although these songs also stroll through through dark forests previously trodden by The Cure at their most morose. In fact, you’ll find yourself suckered by an emotional pull that gives these songs something lasting alongside their noticeably energetic rumble.
Writing about their first record, I advised you to press play and thrill forever, adding that anyone who doesn’t is a fucking cop. This time I’ll go further: it’s never been clearer that democracy is broken. Look at how the wheels were set in motion to get actual fascism into power over the last few years; think about the resistance to structural change from those who benefit from power and oppression. Things are fucked right now. And no, a record isn’t gonna change any of that, but none of us ever believed that’s what music would do, right?
The important thing is it propagates the ideas. It keeps us talking. It reminds us to believe that we’re capable of better. OK, you might not call the ethereal gloom of ‘The Toast of Despair’ a kick-ass soundtrack to all this, and you may struggle to dance to cuts like ‘Promised World’. But dammit, this is an album that’ll amplify your hope while etching glacially beautiful sounds and furious rhythms on your psyche, and if that’s not worth celebrating then I dunno what is.
Our take: The Feast of Vultures is the second LP from this Italian band. Their first record had Crass Records-inspired cover art and a sound reminiscent of Zounds or the first Cure album, Three Imaginary Boys, with a strong melodic / pop element but a punky delivery. This time around the visual aesthetic has changed, and the music is a little different too, widening in scope and incorporating influences from a broader spectrum of 80s pop. Fans of the first LP will love “Promised World” and “Bridges,” but “The Toast of Despair” has a gloomier sound a la the Cure records after Three Imaginary Boys and the album-closer “Futuro?” has a New Romantic vibe. For me, though, the highlight of The Feast of Vultures is “All Will Be Fine,” a bright and poppy song that reminds me of Modern English’s “I’ll Melt with You” and is just as charming and repeatable. If you liked A Culture of Killing’s first album (and I know a lot of you did), I don’t see any reason not to take the journey’s next step.