I've been an obsessed hard rock/heavy metal fan and collector since the early 1980s. If it's got a good guitar riff and attitude, I'm in.
Claymorean - "Sounds From A Dying World"
If I may sound extremely nerdy for a minute (though I'm not sure that it can GET much nerdier than a power metal album review written by a guy in his mid-40s, haha!), I've been getting back into comic books in a big way over this past year, and one of my current favorites is the new Red Sonja series from Dynamite Entertainment. If you've never seen Red Sonja, she's a bad-ass, flame-haired, chain-mail-bikini-clad warrior woman of old who specializes in slaying giant beasts with her broadsword, crushing invading armies single-handedly, and occasionally going toe-to-toe with the mighty Conan The Barbarian himself. The reason I bring this up is that during my first spin of the new Claymorean album, Sounds From A Dying World, it occurred to me that these tunes would make a great soundtrack to those Red Sonja comics!! Even the sword 'n' shield toting Valkyrie on the album cover looks like she could give ol'Sonja a run for her money on the battlefield!
Claymorean - "Rage Of The White Wolf" (2017)
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Claymorean (which included this writer, until the Sounds From A Dying World digital promo landed in my Inbox), they're a female-fronted four piece "epic power metal" band from Serbia (!) who've been kicking around the scene since the early '00s. Their first two albums (2003's The First Dawn Of Sorrow and 2013's Lament Of Victory) were released under the name "Claymore," and reportedly were more symphonic/progressive in nature. By the time 2015's Unbroken hit the streets, courtesy of the pure-metal purveyors at Stormspell Records, they'd added the "-an" to their name and made some changes to their lineup and sound, throwing back to the traditional "true" '80s metal vibe.
I must admit that I've been out of the power-metal loop for some time, so I haven't paid much attention to many of the female-fronted bands that have cropped up in that scene over the past few years. What little I've heard of the current femme-fronted power metal combos leaned more towards the operatic / classical / symphonic end of things, but Claymorean's tunes are reassuringly old-school metal, with an obvious reverence for the True Steel of Olde. Vocalist Dejana Garcevic is most definitely NOT a whispery, flower-metal crooner; for most of this album, she packs a gritty, confident snarl that's closer to Doro Pesch (Warlock) or Ann Boleyn (Hellion), than Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil).
"The Final Journey"
Genre: Epic Power Metal / 9 Tracks / Run Time: 40:38
Label: Stormspell Records / Release Date: June 15, 2017
Sounds From A Dying World gets off to a rollicking start with "The Road To Damnation," which builds off of a cool twin-guitar attack by six stringers Vladimir Garcevic and Uros Kovacevic. When Dejana steps up to the mic and announces "I am the bringer of PAIN," you'd best believe her. "Old Mountain" is up next and it's a slow burning slab of crunch 'n' thunder that gives Dejana a chance to show off the ethereal side of her voice during the song's quieter moments, as well as her gritty "I'll kick your ass" side. The thumping "Cimmeria" (which, if I'm not mistaken, is Conan the Barbarian's homeland) is a tale of swords 'n' steel that would make Claymorean's spiritual fathers in Manowar proud. "Blood Red Shield" starts off soothing and melodic before adding in a healthy dose of sweet Black Sabbathy crunch, while "Rage Of The White Wolf" and "The Final Journey" are primo slabs of melodic power metal ala HammerFall or Virgin Steele.
"Blackest Void" is the longest song on Sounds From A Dying World at nearly seven minutes, but it doesn't wear out its welcome. This track is mostly slow 'n' doomy ala Candlemass, but when the tempo picks up it puts the "epic" in "epic power metal." A cover of "Astral Rider" by the cult British '80s metal band Cloven Hoof closes out the album and it's a nice example of speedy NWOBHM riffage and fist-in-the-air choruses.
Summing It Up
I was pleasantly surprised by Sounds From A Dying World and now I'm interested in checking out more from the Claymorean back catalog.
Sounds From A Dying World will be released by Stormspell Records in Summer 2017, and will definitely please fans of HammerFall, Jag Panzer, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and good ole fashioned leather-n-studs heavy metal in general. Give it a spin. Horns up for the old school!
The First Dawn of Sorrow - One Records, 2003
Lament Of Victory - Soundage Productions, 2013
Unbroken - Stormspell, 2015
Sounds From A Dying World - Stormspell, 2017