An impressive debut album and another indicator of Heavy Artillery's ear for good traditional metal and thrash, VOLTURE's "Shocking Its Prey" may be a throwback release in many respects, but dated it is not. Given the "high-powered heavy metal" heard on "Shocking Its Prey", it makes sense that the band would involve members of crossover thrashers MUNICIPAL WASTE and trad-metallers TWISTED TOWER DIRE. Any way you look at it, this is melodic heavy metal with balls.
Starting off with a quick paced toughie that blasts off at the 1:40 mark into a fiery riff and guitar solo, "Volture" not only has its musical roots in the '80s, but recalls a time when titling a song with the band's name was common ("Iron Maiden", "Metal Church", etc). The album remains leather tough and catchy for the remaining five cuts. "Heavy Metal Machine" features a vocal/riff pattern on the verse reminiscent of "Screaming For Vengeance"-era JUDAS PRIEST, much like the "Shocking Its Prey" album cover reminds of the artwork from that seminal release. Where the group's style splits from the thrashy elements and PRIEST-type muscularity is during the extra tuneful choruses that fall somewhere between FIREWIND and DREAM EVIL. Much of that has to do with vocals from Brent Hubbard that are similar to DREAM EVIL's Niklas Isfeldt. Hubbard's ear-piercing scream on the refrain of "Cheap Thrillz" is one of the album's most exultant moments. A little CANDLEMASS doom bleeds into NWOBHM on album closer "Heathen's Revenge".
Those blasts from the past and arrangement changeups show up with some frequency on the disc (Ryan Waste's Lemmy-esque bass solo during "Night Walker" another example). When combined with the hooky songwriting, they end up going a long way toward helping "Shocking Its Prey" to stand out from the gads of retro acts that have been flooding the scene as of late. Hopefully, the next release will be a proper full-length. When that one drops, we may be witnessing an even higher voltage level from VOLTURE.