Claymore seems to be a quite popular name among metal bands, since many have chosen it as their name. This particular Claymore, comes from Ruse, Bulgaria and plays finest symphonic black metal! They were formed back in 1999 and after several demos and gigs they became quite popular to the local fans with their unique melodic death/black metal. Finally, in 2008, the time for the debut full-length album did come, with the release of “Prolonged Active Antagonism” via the Bulgarian label Distributor of Pain. Five years later, the band signed to the Japanese label Red Rivet Records and released their second full-length “Vengeance Is Near” in 2014.
I never had heard of this band before, and the style of the cover artwork didn’t prepare me for what I was going to listen to. Claymore play very melodic synth-based symphonic extreme metal and they are really good at it. The band has a unique approach in its sound, combining technical guitars of an underground aesthetic, with raw extreme screaming vocals and wonderful catchy melodic synths, clearly influenced by classical symphonic music! Keyboards dominate their sound, which is a good thing in their case, since their melodies are amazing. I don’t know if it has to do anything with their label’s origin, but I am pretty sure I listen to some influences from the Far East extreme metal scene in their sound (e.g. Sigh). Several progressive and symphonic epic power metal elements are present in their compositions too, together with some experimental avant-garde touches. The band has managed to merge everything in a very tight bombastic result! All 9 songs of the album, that lasts for over 54 minutes, are full of wonderful melodies with a totally uplifting epic mood and quite fast tempos. I am really impressed by the quality and ingenuity of their compositions!!! The production of the album is good, I believe though they still need a little more work to get a more powerful sound. The band sings in English and its lyrics are about dark epic fantasy themes.
If you are into melodic symphonic blackened metal and especially if you enjoy the more epic majestic efforts of the genre, Claymore from Bulgaria is a group you better check. “Vengeance Is Near” concentrates 15 years of experience into the most mature work of the band ever. It is released via Red Rivet Records in a standard jewel case edition with a 12-page booklet, including all the lyrics. I strongly advise you to visit their official pages below and give them a listen!