ALBATROSS/VESTAL CLARET – KISSING FLIES/BLACK PRIEST (ROADCREW RECORDS)
Release Date: March 31, 2012
Albatross! It all started when this crazy maverick bass player by the name Dr. Hex (Riju Dasgupta), decided to add another project to his long list of musical endeavors. He brings together two of his passions – Literature and Music, and bonds them in an ever destructive bond of marriage (now you know why it’s called Horror Metal). Their first E.P. – “Dinner Is You” was a concept album, based on Cannibalism and the Kuru disease. The E.P. was mastered by the legendary Andy LaRocque from King Diamond and is very popular among the metalhead community throughout the country.
Circa 2012, they are back with another E.P. – The Kissing Flies, this one will be released as a split with Vestal Claret’s Black Priest album.
Vestal Claret is the mastermind of Phil Swanson and Simon Tuozzoli. It all started in 2005, when Simon was running a studio where Phil was recording and was asked if he would take part in the Vestal Claret recordings. The three-piece Anti-Christian, occult, Satanic heavy metal band, with Phil on the vocals, Simon on guitars and Michael Petrucci on drums, is very highly respected in their genre.
The split comes with five songs, four from Albatross, one from Vestal Claret, and is a real killer compilation.
It starts with “Wither”. The intro track, having some heavy symphonic music, with Biprorshee throwing in some high-pitched vocals and some irritating flies buzzing around(I thought there really was a fly buzzing around my head. awesome stereo panning!). The song gives way to “Uncle Sunny at the Tavern”. The first solo released by Albatross as a teaser for their E.P., I was in love with this song from the first time I heard it. The arrangement of the song is kickass. In a time when guitar solos are restricted to only video games, Albatross made sure the song has the “Axe-Men” doing some serious fingering on their fret board. Biprorshee shows some amazing vocal acrobatics in the song, especially in the part where he sings “Raptoville is dying”. It’s sort of a scary chorus, going with the theme with some nice tempo changes. Indeed old school couldn’t have been cooler than this. The song has Niklas Stalvind singing the last four lines. He has also produced the album for Albatross.
“Kissing Flies”, no I’m not talking about insect porn. It’s the second song of the album. It has a soothing intro, smooth as jazz with a sort of Christmas Carol style lyric delivery. Too much calmness wasn’t bearable for them. The guitars kicked in and the double bass went out of control. At around 3:30, the guitars abruptly stop, the reason being some flies which must have invaded the studio during the recording session and we have our very own Riju Dasgupta scaring away the flies by pumping his fretless bass. Sahil Makhija, of Demonic Resurrection, plays a special cameo in the song, coming in midway and yelling out some heavy low growls. The song again has multiple guitar solos (I forgot to count them this time).
“From The Ashes Comes Life”, no we aren’t promoting the theory of rebirth, it’s the next song in the list and the last song by Albatross in the album. Compared to the other two songs, this one has a slightly weak backbone. Certain things that need to be mentioned are – the overlay of vocals in the intro, one panned to the right, the other left and the drumming. It’s the only song where Jay overshadowed the two guitarists. Well that would be all for Albatross for now, lets see what Vestal Claret has to offer.
The first thing that struck me was the length of the song: 17:24! To be honest, it felt like a 5 minute song. This song has the power to a person hallucinate and take one deeper into trance (Naah, I wasn’t stoned). I was later told that it’s composed of three different songs clubbed into one, which on further careful listening, I realized that too. The song is slow-paced; lyrics have elements of dark ambience. The acoustic guitar solo sounds like David Gilmour in his prime, Simon’s perfect timing and composition in the solo is master class. The song becomes a little heavier, with more or less the same pace going on from 7:30 onwards. The guitar solo again hits one hard enough to knock him out, it’s from the fourth dimension, from a time when music transformed into an evil witch and can hypnotize you. The song then joins in both the heavy part and the comparatively light part for a grand farewell to one of the most genius compositions I’ve heard in recent times in this genre. Vestal Claret, take a bow.
Well that brings us to the end of the album. Albatross have come a long way from what they were in 2010, they have matured as a band and their new lead guitarist kicks some real ass. Vestal Claret is one hell of a band, not many three-piece bands can do what these guys can.
Albatross – 8.8/10
Vestal Claret – 9.2/10