Albatross/Vestal Claret – The Kissing Flies/Black Priest
The art of storytelling, courtesy Albatross and Vestal Claret
Mumbai horror metal Albatross have been championing the art of storytelling in metal ever since the release of their first EP Dinner is You (2010) and they take their cause further on their second release The Kissing Flies. Set around the story of a town falling into decay, the EP opens with the atmo- spheric “Wither,” with Bi- proshree Das’ vocals effectively bringing the macabre to the track. “Uncle Sunny at the Tav- ern” veers between oddly upbeat verses and dark bridges, throw- ing in plenty of old-school solos in a track that builds the men- ace, finding explosive release in the vocals of Niklas StaÌŠlvind, the frontman of Swedish metal band Wolf, who makes a cameo on the record. The power-metal style of their earlier release is tempered here with short doom-y passages that are a fallout, perhaps, of the band’s changed lineup and ex- panding musical influences.
Of the four songs here, the title track lacks character but the EP gains ground on album closer “From Ashes Comes Life,” that interleaves the slower melodic passages with uptempo riffs. On the whole, The Kissing Flies is Albatross growing comfortable in their odd skin, unifying the components of the sound they tried out in Dinner is You and finding balance in their story- telling and musical abilities.
Vestal Claret’s half of the EP is an epic 17-minute track, “Black Priest,” that borrows from the best traditions of heavy metal and doom, laying rolling guitar riffs against vocal-led passages, that makes the song, to the band’s credit, feels a lot shorter than its length.
It’s an interesting mix of sounds that is still an acquired taste, but one that rewards the listener with every spin.
Key Tracks: ‘Uncle Sunny at the Tavern’, ‘Black Priest’