Albatross – Fear from the Skies (Review)

AlbatrossThis is the début album from Indian Heavy Metal band Albatross.

We’ve met Albatross before, on their split with Vestal Claret. This is their first full length so it’s a pleasure to be reacquainted with their particularly interesting brand of Heavy Metal.

The songs on this release are all full of character and Albatross certainly put their own spin on things.

It’s the intention of Albatross to tell a story; while some bands who do this do it purely through the lyrics, Albatross strive to ensure that the music talks just as loudly as the words.

This is an album of two halves, with each half having its own story and theme. In line with the album cover, there is somewhat of a carnival feeling to the music on occasion, at least to the first half of the album. The second half is more straight-faced but just as compelling. Albatross are talented song-smiths and have a good ear for a good tale.

Quirky Heavy Metal is the name of the game and here Albatross are playing in the big leagues. Iron Maiden, King Diamond, Queensrÿche and bits of Thrash Metal are all melted down and consumed in some sickly-looking broth, only to be regurgitated in multicolour and in new and glorious ways by the band.

Taking these starting points, the band inject their own colourful personalities and passions into this lively release, resulting in an album that is a feast of delights. It’s extremely well-played and delivered, with some choice solos and vocal performances.

The track record of albums with concepts such as this is chequered at best, but Albatross have produced a winner here.

Albatross/Vestal Claret – The Kissing Flies/Black Priest (Review)

AlbatrossA very interesting split between Indian band Albatross and US group Vestal Claret.

Albatross have a good, clear, organic sound and play Heavy Metal with some quirks of character. There’s a freshness to these tracks that is a welcome change; they lack a sense of tiredness and “heard-it-all-before-ness” that can plague some bands.

The vocalist can certainly sing and he puts his voice to good use, occasionally reaching stratospheric heights. Combined with the odd shriek and more raspy and growly vocals there’s plenty of variety on offer.

The songs are long and theatrical without being pompous or overblown. Four tracks in 26 minutes and very enjoyable they are too. Let’s see what they’re capable of on their next release.

Vestal Claret

Vestal Claret finish off the split with the 17 minute Black Priest. This song is more of a Traditional Doom Metal track than anything by Albatross, and by crikey it’s as good as anything the likes of Black Sabbath or Candlemass have done. Flawless.

This is a worthwhile split with Albatross contributing some very enjoyable songs, and Vestal Claret stealing the show with their Doom hymn.