Lady Beast deliver exactly what we need right now on glorious, energetic ‘The Vulture’s Amulet’

Photo by Christopher Tritschler

Has there even been a more fitting time to be able to plug in and forget about everything going on outside our doors and get lost in the power of heavy metal? It’s why I get irritated when people take this music so seriously because people forget to leave an opening for feeling good, for getting lost, for transcending above your worldly problems.

With that, there could not have been a better time for Pittsburgh classic metal warriors Lady Beast to return with their fourth record “The Vulture’s Amulet,” another powerful collection of songs that delve into fantasy, the spirit of heavy metal, and drawing power from within, which is a perfect elixir for a world that’s drowning in woes. This nine-track, 41-minute record also is one of the steadiest albums of their run, a collection that visits various terrains, tempos, and emotions, showing a band that’s still growing before our eyes and ears and continues to surprise every time out. The band—vocalist Deborah Levine, guitarists Andy Ramage and Chris Tritschler, bassist Greg Colaizzi (Amy Bianco has since taken over these duties), and drummer Adam Ramage—unloads burst after blast, charging you up with metal thunder that should fill you with fiery energy.

“Metal Machine” fires up the record and keeps a channeled pace, boiling over when the chorus strikes with Levine wailing, “Build for speed, I’m a metal machine.” The soloing rips things apart, rounding back to the chorus before hammering closed. “Runes of Rust” unloads more riffs as the verses land punches, and the chorus strikes with Levine revealing, “Now the magic is mine.” A great, classic-style solo is unleashed, kicking back and bringing the track to a fiery end. The bass drives into “The Gift,” leading the way as the guitars get going, and the vocals are really strong and infuse the track with catchiness. “My arms open wide, my mind and heart are ready to receive,” Levine calls, as the track hits a huge NWOBHM gallop. Fluid soloing ignites fuel while the track reaches its climax with Levine revealing, “Love is the gift.” “Sacrifice to the Unseen” has an ominous start before it gets grittier and meaner, as Levine wails out, “The gates of hell are open for me.” Darker guitars bring heavy shadows while the soloing blinds eyes, and the track blasts to a close.

“Betrayer” has clubbing verses and a simple but effective chorus that should go over well in a live setting. Whenever we can have those again. Cool leads ramp up, the soloing boils over, and the final blows loosen ribs. You might think a song called “The Champion” would be awash in power and glory, and you’d be right. The leads rush as the band chews up terrain, with a Maiden-style assault mounted to make your head swell. “The world will forever know your name,” Levine declares as soloing ignites, and the song comes to a rousing finish. “Transcend the Blade” is a strong instrumental cut that has a flurry of riffs and stomps as the leads glimmer and race toward the sun. The tempo continues to sprawl as the guitars speed up, and the track turns to ash. The title cut has a pace that spews shrapnel while the playing is even keeled but also properly heavy. Classic soloing mounts while the track has a blazing, adventurous end. “Vow of the Valkyrie” is your closer and it tears open and brings speed and precision as the vocals land blows. “In the eyes of war, we are the saviors,” Levine belts over the chorus as the band backs her up with a delirious pace. Soloing blasts, the playing rumbles, and everything comes to a cataclysmic end.

Lady Beast’s heroic metallic performances always have conjured the spirits of the genre’s creators, carrying the torch lit and carried by Maiden, Priest, Doro, Cirith Ungol, and Manilla Road, and “The Vulture’s Amulet” continues their line of triumphant albums that surge through your body. We needed this now more than ever, and each visit I’ve had with the record took me out of reality and made me feel good for once. Let’s not forget metal’s ability to heal, and this record and band are the ideal salve for your wounds.

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