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 - "Eulogy for the Gods"
Country: Serbia / Genre: Epic/Melodic Power Metal
Release: Stormspell Records, 2021
Tracks: 8 / Run time: 43:59
Claymorean is a female fronted power metal band from Lazarevac, Serbia, who've been kicking around in one form or another since the early 2000s,when they were known as simply "Claymore." I reviewed their last album, Sounds From a Dying World, for this fine site way back in 2017 (was it really that long ago already?) and at that time, I was quite impressed by their classy, melodic, swords n' shields brand of power metal -- and especially by the powerhouse vocal performance of warrior woman Dejana Garčević, who is most definitely not a wispy, "flower metal" type of singer.
Four years later, the quartet has just unleashed their latest album, Eulogy for the Gods, via the true metal specialists at Stormspell Records. After a few spins of the new material, I am pleased to report that Eulogy for the Gods doesn't just maintain the high standards Claymorean set on Sounds for a Dying World, it surpasses them!
"Hunter of the Damned"
Claymorean packs major firepower as soon as you press "play" on Eulogy For the Gods, with the very first track "Hunter of the Damned" kicking things off in fine, galloping style. The sounds of horses and clanging swords provide the lead in to "Battle in the Sky," a triumphant true metal hymn that thumps along like Heaven and Hell era Black Sabbath. Dejana's oh-so-metal snarl is in excellent form here, and when she goes for broke on the high notes during the choruses you're bound to throw your metal horns in the air. A cover of Virgin Steele's 1988 historic epic "The Burning of Rome (Cry for Pompeii)" may be my favorite track on the album thus far, with Dejana confidently leading the charge over the powerhouse guitar work of Vladimir Garčević and Uroš Kovačević,
The appropriately doom-flavored "Lords of Light" is dedicated to the late Mark Shelton of cult metal legends Manilla Road, who passed away in 2018, and I think he'd be pleased by this true metal salute. The speed metal flavored "In the Tombs of Atuan" kicks off with some pounding rhythm work from drummer Marko Novaković and bassist Goran Garčević before the rest of the band kicks in with more sizzling riffs and soaring vocals.
I have no idea what the title of "Mystical Realm (Deorum in Absentia)" could possibly mean, but it's a cool, slow burning pounder with hints of vintage Judas Priest. It's the longest song on the album at just a hair over seven minutes, but it never feels overlong or wears out its welcome. The tempo picks up again on the head banging, speed metal burner "Spirit of Merciless Time," before Eulogy for the Gods comes to a close with the Manowar-esque epic "Blood of the Dragon." This track was written by and features a guest guitar solo from Stormspell's Man of a Thousand Bands, Cederick "Ced" Forsberg of Blazon Stone/Rocka Rollas fame. Ced apparently wrote this song years ago for one of his many projects, but it was never used. Thus, he "gifted" it to Claymorean rather than let it go to waste, which was a great move for both sides of the equation. It's an absolute barn burner, and it even gives their record label home a lyrical shout out with the line, "Dragon must fall by a shattering Stormspell!"
"The Burning of Rome (Cry For Pompeii)"
Summing it Up
Eulogy For the Gods is the sound of a band that has stepped up its game in a big way. Don't get me wrong, Sounds from a Dying World was good, but Eulogy is an improvement in just about every department, from the songwriting and vocals to the musical performances and production quality. Obviously these guys (and gal) have spent the time between albums honing their craft, and the result will leave fans of fantasy-themed power/trad metal like Dio or Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath, Blind Guardian, Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol and the like hollering for more. Put this album on your shopping list immediately, if not sooner!
As with most of Stormspell Records' CD releases, Eulogy for the Gods is a limited pressing of only 500 copies, so if you want to add this disc to your collection you'll need to act fast.
© 2021 Keith Abt