Lament Of Victory
Released: 2013, Unsigned
Claymore is a Serbian band with an interesting history. Formed way back in 1994, the band began to quickly gain a passionate fan base, despite the Bosnian War raging during that time. After the war, the band recorded a well received demo, which led to a five album contract and the release of their first full length album titled THE FIRST DAWN OF SORROW. The future looked bright, and Claymore had proved that they were capable of surviving and thriving during a brutal war. However, like countless bands before them, they could not survive each other. The band imploded in 2003, the result of internal conflicts that could not be reconciled. Fast forward 10 years, and band leader Vlad Invictus (he is a fan of Virgin Steele as his surname indicates), resurrected the band, and they have released their second album LAMENT OF VICTORY.
LAMENT OF VICTORY unashamedly carries forth the banner of female-fronted metal but also includes significant quantities of power metal and cinematic interludes that lend the album an overall epic quality. The album is basically a concept album inspired by George R. R. Martin’s epic saga “A Song Of Ice And Fire.” Claymore boldly wears their influences on their sleeve, as opening track “On The Wings Of Time” reveals. The song unmistakably recalls Tarja-era Nightwish, and while singer Dejana Betsa does not have the upper range of Tarja Turunen she is capable of lending the song a bombastic quality. After hearing this song, I was confident that I knew what the rest of the album was going to be like, but I was wrong. LAMENT OF VICTORY is a diverse album, and the following tune made that clear, “Sorrow’s Tear” being a muscular power metal tune with Vlad Invictus and Betsa trading vocal duties. The chorus stands out as one of the most memorable on the album, perfect for festival crowds. “Hymn Of Victory” is the Virgin Steele/Manowar tribute, where “the hammer of God will grind you to dust”, a faithful and lovingly crafted reminder of the influence that those two bands have had on epic metal. For those looking for the perfect combination of Nightwish and Virgin Steele, check out Betsa’s inspired performance on “King In The North” where she reaches for the loftier registers, while Vlad announces Robb Stark’s intention to wage war and avenge his father.
The final toll rings up at 8 tunes clocking roughly 40 minutes of high grade metal. The production is clear and not mastered as loud as many modern albums. The band is also remarkably restrained, choosing their notes carefully and tastefully. Highlights would be the tone of the guitars, while the drums could have used some added force and punch. LAMENT OF VICTORY is an album that was 10 years in coming, but if this is any indication of the music Claymore will be offering us in the future, then I am onboard. Recommended for fans of Nightwish, Virgin Steele, and Manowar.