Lady Beast are a band I’ve had the pleasure of watching/listening effloresce over the past 6 years after first catching them at a festival. Their debut, self-titled record caused me to grin in approval at its derivative worship of British metal traditions, conventions, and convictions and little more. However, their exponentially explosive live performances kept my ears fixed on them, and I was rewarded with a succession of stellar releases that improved upon each other. Yet I had a feeling that 2017’s Vicious Breed might be their zenith. Any other act could hang onto such a work of artistic, electric force and rest on it for the remainder of their days.
And once again, I was left flabbergasted with the quality of another Lady Beast effort. The Vulture’s Amulet, Lady Beast’s entry for the uncertain 2020’s, burns away any notions of rehash or nostalgia even if it might as well have dropped in 1980. That’s not to say that this is a dated album. A sheen of molten platinum has been poured onto a timelessly classic NWOBHM/Euro/Speed alloy that has become purely Lady Beast’s own.
Lead-off track “Metal Machine” is introduced to the world through the startling riffery and soloing from Chris Trischler and Andy Ramage as the latter’s brother, Adam, peppers the pleasure centers of the brain with an Appicean/Travis verve, as frontwoman Deb Levine’s unique vocals ring as impassioned and melodic and rich as ever.
Second song, “Runes Of Rust” gallops with the ferocity and regality of fellow statesmen Argus only for Greg Colaizzi to exercise his Hades-given right to weaponize bass guitar with third chapter “The Gift,” an accurate way to sum up Lady Beast’s phenomenon, stated in bullet train fashion.
“Sacrifice To The Unseen” possesses a shocking Slayer-like structure, attitude, and reason to be, grinding along as the very best mid-paced thrashers do, a malevolent doom chorus centering the composition as Hammettesque picking finishes it off. Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Manilla Road rear their influential heads on the next pair of tunes, “Betrayer” and inspiring bastard-slayer “The Champion”, both of which are spiritually connected through Manichean ideals.
The harmonized twin-leads that lovers of olden metal especially savor flare out and flame on in instrumental “Transcend The Blade” and the Lord Weird Slough Feg vs. Sorceror of the title cut as well as rapid fire closer “Vow Of The Valkyrie,” in which Lady Beast’s dual pyrotechnicians send us home, Levine’s battle-siren wails proclaiming and celebrating fantastical, mythic victory.
Be it on stage or on tape, Lady Beast just keeps getting better, somehow. I predict that in 15-20 years, they will be the ones rubbing off on future metal musicians, The Vulture’s Amulet being the disc they will swear by and place onto pedestals, ranking high on best-ever lists and weathering all movements in current music.