Chuck Schuldiner Project

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Vestal Claret - S/T

You have got to love occult rock. Especially when it is executed with this same level of aplomb. There is a wonderful creepiness to the self titled offering from Vestal Claret, the Connecticut institution. 14 years deep into their career as a band they are creating some of their most vibrant and potent music to date. It's got rich guitar tones, tasteful solos and gorgeous keys that provide everything that little bonus of padding that all good occult rock needs to really take it to the next level.

While there certainly are moments on this record that are plodding, others shine much more brightly. The extended instrumental passage on 'Graey' for instance shows moments of brilliance, but seems mostly kind of extraneous. That being said, the band makes it all back with big choruses almost reminiscent of Ghost. Their mesmerizing buzzing magic will keep you drawn in. As a general rule this is one of the best sounding releases from the bands career too. Perhaps it was the mixing courtesy of Arthur Rizk, but Simon Tuozzoli clearly put a lot into the production of this record too. Still at times it feels like the band isn't really living up to their full potential.

All this being said, Vestal Claret are a nifty band with a clear vision and a passion to elevate what they are doing to a whole new level. This self titled release is a clear step forward for them and it's a pleasure to lose yourself in the gorgeous guitars of a track like 'Shadows'. There is a lot of ambition on this record, not all of which is really matched with what's going on. That being said, the potential is clear and as they continue to navigate their journey it becomes increasingly clear that Vestal Claret are one of a kind.

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