• Klaymore - Justifiably Pissed (2014) - Heavy metal done right - 85% (15/03/15)

    Klaymore - Justifiably Pissed (2014)

    The young heavy metal quartet Klaymore from Penssylvania claims to be justifiably pissed. Apart of the off-puttingly boring cover artwork, there is no reason for them to be unnecessarily frustrated because their new EP is convincingly great. The band still performs passionately energizing heavy metal that mixes traditional trademarks with a contemporarily juvenile edge. Damn, I need to stop with this writing style. Okay, let's get to the point. The quartet has slightly increased its thrash metal influences and abandoned the few power metal inspired synth sounds of the predecessor on this release. The song writing has become even more concise and professional. The six new songs clock in at less than twenty minutes but they don't include any useless lengths.

    The opener "Burn" happens to be my favourite song on this output. The riffs in the verses as well as the fast guitar solo in the bridge are sharp and slightly thrash metal inspired. The bass guitar is audible in the right moments and the drumming is quite tight even though its sound is still a little bit muddy. The chorus is quite catchy but it doesn't mean it's simple. This has somehow become a trademark of the band as their choruses are quite addicting and only need a few spins to get stuck on your mind. The vocals are quite versatile and have sometimes a melodic and strained tone and at other times they successfully try out a few almost screamed and more high-pitched passages. Overall, the vocals sound less nasal and more versatile than before. They recall a juvenile mixture of Rob Halford and James Hetfield in their beginnings. There are also enough creative song writing ideas to make this track one of the very best in the band's career.

    This release has a clear guiding line which consists of short up-tempo heavy metal tracks with catchy choruses about complicated relationships garnished with a more fantasy themed tune as album closer. The shortest song on here is "Out of Sight" with a length of only two and a half minutes. Still, the track includes angry verses with tight riffs, a catchy chorus with strong gang shouts and a bridge with a melodic guitar solo. Nothing feels rushed and everything sounds to the point. These guys exactly know what they do and where they want to go with their sound which is quite rare at their young age. This song should be introduced at music schools to show how to write a concise and efficient rock song without any avantgarde-progressive-symphonic gimmicks. I actually like these kinds of gimmicks but they don't fit to this kind of music and Klaymore seem to have understood this.

    What I would have liked to hear on this short effort though are one or two songs that sound a little bit different. I obviously don't mean a symphonic death metal song sung in Russian with monk choirs and two classically trained orchestras that hits the ten-minute mark but maybe there could have been an even faster power or thrash metal infused track or a slightly slower and more atmospheric track like "Haunted" or even "Home" on the previous output. The closing "Demons" comes closest to this and opens with a more atmospheric guitar tone and a great dominant bass guitar but quickly turns into another mid-tempo heavy metal song in the key of the previous five tracks. Don't get me wrong, all songs on here are really great but one or two more distinctive tunes would have made an amazing record even more excellent. 

    I have recently been introduced to several horribly overrated heavy metal revival bands (namely Battle Beast and Beyond The Black) that simply copy their idols by biased festivals, labels and magazines and let me tell you that it's a true relief to listen to these guys here because they aren't just following a trend but they really breathe, sweat and transmit the soul of heavy metal. This quartet from Penssylvania might not become famous because they don't have a cute female lead singer, their music videos aren't made by Patric Ullaeus who is the James Cameron among the music video directors (which isn't exactly a compliment in my book) and they aren't signed to Nuclear Blast to release their records in five different versions including digipacks with instrumental versions, mediabooks with cheap digital camera photos from some dirty backstages in a 64-page booklet and limited pink vinyls with yellow dots that are only available in Japan. This is handmade music with a concept, heart and soul and those who already like the band will faithfully continue following their career instead of jumping on the bandwagon and find another band. Now, I guess I'm justifiably pissed. Anyway, go and check these sympathetic guys out right away.

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