Those of Tartarean Ancestry is Vale of Amonition’s second full-length album. Vale of Amonition is a doom metal band hailing from Kamala, Uganda formed in 2009 by Victor Rosewrath (vocals/guitars). Vale of Amonition released their début demo Curtain of Doom and the Broken Shield in 2010. They released an EP (Infernal Supremacy, 2012), before releasing their first full-length, Those of Metal Afar in 2013. At this point, the band had already seen many lineup changes, with Victor being the only constant. Their sound, however, had remained uniform. It could be described as eccentric, progressive, and psychedelic occult doom metal.
THOSE OF TARTAREAN ANCESTRY
Those of Tartarean Ancestry is somewhat of a departure from the band’s original sound. All the progressive and psychedelic elements have been eliminated in favor of a purer doom sound, while a more brooding, melancholic atmosphere was introduced. Though the progressive and psychedelic elements of the band’s former sound are nowhere to be found. Traces of the eccentricity are present throughout the album. From the spoken word intro Summoning Tartarus to Swallow the Vale, the purely vocal moment in the middle of The Most of Merry Funerals. Also, from the clean guitar and spoken word intro to Bitterness Bitterness, the guitar feedback experimentation on the title track, and the overall multifaceted uniqueness of the closing track Revisiting the Bitterness of God.
Victor’s narrative approach to lyric writing hasn’t changed either. Each song is telling a story (often as an allegory) and often incorporating spoken word narration interspersed among the vocals. Victor uses both clean and harsh vocals to convey his vision and performs both of them well. The harsh vocals take on multiple textures, and his clean vocals are powerful, well-delivered and on key. His thick accent is one of the defining elements of the band. Personally, I am a big fan of vocalists whose regional accent comes through strongly, Primordial’s Nemtheanga being a good example.
The riffing on the album is fantastic. It is influenced by all the mainstays of the genre, as well as doom death, and a touch of melodeath. The guitar tone and production are great as well. The band traveled to Kenya to have William Kamore record the album, and he delivered on every level. The production is almost on par with that of an album released through a major metal label. Samples of various kinds are incorporated at times (but never a line from a Hollywood movie, thankfully) and serve to enhance the effect of the music.
The title track features some cool experimentation with guitar feedback, which sounds interesting, yet would sound unprofessional with lesser production. Clocking in at over 65 minutes, Those of Tartarean Ancestry doesn’t feel long since all the songs are distinct from one another. They often tend to draw the listener in, guaranteed not to bore fans of the genre.
A doom metal masterpiece, Those of Tartarean Ancestry propels Vale of Amonition into the ranks of the international doom élite. They take a foundation of somber, brooding traditional doom, execute it perfectly, and add their own touch of eccentricity and originality to it. If you are a doomer, you will undoubtedly love it. Even if you’re not really into doom or unfamiliar with it, you may still very well enjoy this album. If you are a metalhead of the kind that needs their music to be fast or aggressive, then it may not be what you are looking for. Those of Tartarean Ancestry should make Vale of Amonition a name that every doom metal fan knows.
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