Released: 2014, Cruz Del Sur Music
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Conneticut Heavy Metal band VESTAL CLARET latest record continues the band's exploration of BLACK SABBATH-inspired music with occult lyrical themes. Once again, veteran Doom Metaller Phil Swanson (BRITON RITES, UPWARDS OF ENDTIME, HOUR OF 13 and SEAMOUNT, among others) teams up with the people who helped on VESTAL CLARET's Bloodbath record, Simon Tuozzoli and Michael Petrucci (no longer listed as an official member in the band), which is a great thing since these musicians seem to work great together.
The music in The Cult of Vestal Claret turns out to be quite varied, as the band like to explore 1970's Progressive Rock territory within the BLACK SABBATH mold.
On many occasions, the band reminds me of COUNT RAVEN because of this, as well as Swanson's nasal vocal style. There is also a N.W.O.B.H.M. influence in the catchy, well-played guitar riffs, specially in the title track "Piece of Meat" and "Never Say No Again". As the record progresses, though, those Progressive Rock stylings begin to appear, as well as the use of acoustic guitar passages. "Black Priest" is seventeen minute monster in which the band let loose on the Progressive Rock influence. On the other hand, "The Demon and The Deceiver" is a particularly outstanding track built around acoustic guitar arrangements, and the band, instead of coming off as relaxed and laid back, actually sound as if they are building up before bursting with vocals aiding in maintaining tension throughout. The band fittingly included their own version of the BLACK SABBATH classic "Who Are You", achieving that same weird, disturbing feeling of the original with little effort.
For fans of BLACK SABBATH and Doom Metal, you can't go wrong with VESTAL CLARET's The Cult of Vestal Claret, since the album offers many great moments. It is a very well-written album that makes use of what has become familiar, yet manage to keep it interesting. I am looking forward to the band's future releases, to see just how far they go with this style.