“And it’s hands would weave the entrails of the priest for lack of a cord to strangle kings.”
That Denis Diderot quote has been accompanying Shroud of Vulture‘s recent press releases, and for good reason: it’s a perfectly explicit intro to the uncompromising defiance of their debut LP, Upon a Throne of Jackals. The Indianapolis quartet release Upon a Throne of Jackals digitally today, and it’s the dissident death/doom desperately needed for these tumultuous times.
Clawing from the subterranean murk and tortured screams of the album’s intro, Upon a Throne of Jackals is a direct response to suffering and impropriety. Once “The Altar” opens with its grave-digging groove, every second of the album’s 38+ minutes feel like a bludgeoning implement. The haunted crawl of “Perverted Reflection” erupts into a blistering nightmare. Propelled by cavernous caveman riffs and a contagious pummel, “Invert Every Throne” emerges as the album’s first single. Born from serpent-pits of feedback and discord, “Concealing Rabid Laughter” and “Stone Coffin of Existence” both embody Shroud of Vulture at their blackest pitch. Upon a Throne of Jackals is an album without reprieve. The briefest silence foreshadows coming violence. But in an age where manufactured rage dilutes civil discourse, the authenticity of Shroud of Vulture’s recalcitrant roar should turn heads. I encourage fans of Incantation, diSEMBOWELMENT, Father Befouled and Anhedonist to scavenge copies of this record immediately.
Invert tyranny and stream Shroud of Vulture’s Upon a Throne of Jackals below. Scroll further and read thoughts from vocalist Nate about the band’s genesis and the album’s timely themes. But first, sharpen your pitchforks and press play NOW.
Decibel Magazine interview with Shroud of Vulture
What was the concept for Shroud of Vulture’s sound and thematic focus when the band first formed in 2016?
Nate (vocals): Our first drummer posted on social media asking if anyone would be interested in starting a death/doom band, I believe specifically mentioning Ahab and My Dying Bride. When we first started, none of us had played together before, and there really wasn’t a solid idea of where we wanted to go outside of referencing our collective influences. At our first practice, I was literally just making noises and using snippets of lyrics I remembered from Autopsy or something.
It’s been a little under 3 years since your Valium I songs were first recorded. What changes did you want to make to the band’s sound and songwriting?
Nate: We try to let our sound evolve organically, but from my perspective, I knew I wanted more of a fast/slow dynamic, and for the music to feel more bleak. I was in a pretty rough spot mentally at the time, and had started writing more politically charged lyrics to keep my mind off of how I was actually feeling.
You returned to Carl Byers and his Clandestine Arts studio for this record. What about his sensibilities make him a good match for Shroud of Vulture?
Nate: Carl and I have been good friends for a number of years, and he’d recorded two of my previous projects. He has a perfect ear for punk and metal, and seems to know just how to make everything click.
You recently mentioned the album, although recorded a year ago, was “a treatise against tyranny and oppression.” Have you felt like the themes of your album have become even more prevalent and dire since it was recorded?
Nate: Absolutely. When I started writing the songs that would become Upon A Throne Of Jackals, there was a ton of horror imagery that I was leaning on, specifically from Clive Barker’s horror/fantasy novel The Thief of Always. But the lyrics changed to a more serious and anti-tyrannical tone with each draft. For a long fucking time, we’ve seen one giant crisis after another. Just in the last few years there has been famine in Yemen, ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, fires in Australia, the myriad issues with American overreach in the middle east, and the backlog of shit we’ve dealt with considering the administration here in the US. 2020 doesn’t seem to give us the courtesy of a one-after-another crisis, and I think it’s important to acknowledge that without a united will of the people, we’re all eventually just a smear on the bottom of a boot.
What do you have planned in 2020 and beyond for Shroud of Vulture?
Nate: I’d love to say that we’re going to tour in support of the album, but that doesn’t seem likely any time soon. Just in the last week, states that reopened have been shutting back down, and whether or not you agree, it makes touring basically impossible. We’re going to continue to focus on writing new material and sharpening ourselves on the material we already have, so when the time comes to play, we’re as tight as we were before all this shit happened.