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Review: Vestal Claret - The Cult of Vestal Claret
Vestal Claret
The Cult of Vestal Claret

Label: Cruz Del Sur Music
Year released: 2014
Duration: 55:20
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy/Doom


Review online: September 26, 2014
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.3/5 (86%) (10 Votes)

Vestal Claret is the on-again, off-again, on-again Doom Metal collaboration between guitarist Simon Tuozzoli (ex-Earthlord) and kvlt vocalist Phil Swanson (he of many former bands). The Cult of Vestal Claret brings together a full album's worth of the band's classic Doom material, mainly re-recorded versions of songs from previous splits but also a couple of unreleased tracks and a cover of Black Sabbath's "Who Are You?" The sound of the band is classic 70s Doom, à la Sabbath, with a healthy dose of 80s Doom, such as Trouble, and a hefty Traditional Heavy Metal vibe. The guitars are fuzzy, but not overly so, and the tempos are not uniformly slow, giving The Cult of Vestal Claret a great flow from faster to slower parts. Tuozzoli's riffs are fantastically melodic and catchy, his bass lines deep and booming and Swanson's unique, unadorned vocals have rarely sounded better. When you combine these elements together, it makes you hope Vestal Claret will be Phil's band for the foreseeable future as, in Tuozzoli's musical framework, he has found a home.

Speedier tracks like "Never Say No Again" and "The Stranger" will bowl you over with their beefy riffing while slower songs like "The Cult of Vestal Claret" bring the ponderous weight of pure Doom to rest squarely on your feeble human form. On the superlatively re-recorded epic "Black Priest," originally released as a split with Albatross, where it sounded completely out of place, Swanson creates a somber and depressive atmosphere among minimal instrumentation in a way only he can. He brings such gravitas with his simple delivery, listening to the song is almost like watching a classic horror film. The cover of Sabbath's "Who Are You?" is respectful yet the band makes it their own.

The Cult of Vestal Claret is a must for all fans of Doom and dark Traditional Metal. There are no weak tracks and nothing that panders to any sort of modern trend. Some might lament such an underground band receiving wider exposure but I say "fuck that!" Get this album and throw some horns in the air.

More about Vestal Claret...
Review: The Cult of Vestal Claret (reviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Review: The Kissing Flies/Black Priest (reviewed by MetalMike)
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