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VESTAL CLARET
VESTAL CLARET
Bloodbath
(Nine Records)
71:36min

Since this was my first encounter with VESTAL CLARET, I had to do some research. Especially after finding that "Bloodbath" had been released back in 2011 on another label. The guys from the band had a lot of guests in every department and the recording is different to their debut album reviewed here. I really don't know what happened and I haven't heard the previous "Bloodbath", so let's focus on the now: a recording done by the actual members of the band, a power trio of Heavy / Doom Metal similar to SAINT VITUS and PENTAGRAM. Upon first hearing, VESTAL CLARET's music could be identified as Heavy Metal. All the songs off this album come from different stages of the band, so there are some small stylistic differences. Depending on each song, their Doom side shines out with eerie guitar melodies and sometimes quiet, trance-like moods. I really don't know how to tag this band. There are many elements of both Heavy Metal and Doom Metal sub-genres and they are so perfectly combined that the line that sets apart these styles is erased with a single stroke. Vocalist Phil Swanson is the driving force of the band, providing a stellar and convincing performance. His vocals got a lot of soul and character. You can tell that the lyric topics are no light words to him. Music wise, Simon Tuozzoli, sharing bass and guitar duties, contributes with a ton of heaviness and lots of atmosphere when needed. His riffs have a lot of Iommi influence with a creepy edge. Behind the drums, Mike Petrucci is the perfect base to the music. His control of the kit helps the dynamics in the songs a lot, either aggressive or depressive. In my humble opinion, the production is set somewhere between KYUSS' "...And The Circus Leaves Town" and SAINT VITUS "Die Healing". A raw and heavy guitar tone, a pummeling bass with lots of good lines, a powerful drum sound and some of the best vocals I've heard in this style. Add to that the anti-christian and occult lyrics and songs ranging from 5 to 10 minutes (that's over 70 minutes of music!) and you've got yourself a hell of an album! For information concerning the band you can go here: www.facebook.com/vestalclaret or you can go to the label's website here: www.nine-records.com

Alfonso Perez

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