15 May 2021
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Claemus - Single Review: Hedonist

13 May 2021 // Review by Kev Rowland

Hutt Valley quartet Claemus are back with their latest single, Hedonist, which puts them firmly in the prog metal scene, but possibly not quite in the area one might imagine just from that alone. Most people tend to think of prog metal as being typified by the likes of Dream Theater or Threshold, but as with many of the sub genres, itself covers a multitude of different styles and Claemus are musically all over the place - truly progressing and blending as opposed to attempting to sound like anyone else.

There are some synths in the background, but they are only there to provide some additional colour, as this song is all about complexity combined with wonderful production, some great hooks and loads of different sections; all wrapped up with solid vocals and great hooks. It is not often that one can think of a band heavily influenced by Meshuggah and Protest The Hero, who also manage to provide something which is incredibly commercial, has loads of space within it and musically just never stops.

This is one of those numbers where it is possible to listen to it as a whole to take it all in at one level, but if you then concentrate on just one instrument it is only then that one realises that there is so much going on at every level. It would be simple to say that the most important instruments are the twin guitars as they are always in your face, weaving intricate spells which can be gently picked one minute and then being blasted the next, but what about that bass which is sometimes tight in with them, and at others playing a counter melody, while the drums never stop shifting and changing the level of attack? The vocals are mostly gentle and unforced, sung in high register, but we also get some growls here and there, while those guitars bend at times taking the music in another direction altogether.

Actually, the real hero here is the arrangement and use of space. This is massively intricate, swooping and constantly moving, going from heaviness to lightness in a flash, so the listener never really settles down but instead is taken on a journey with the result that the song works best when it is played on repeat as while instantly accessible and enjoyable, it is only really by the fifth or sixth listen that the inherent beauty shines through. This is my first introduction to Claemus and I certainly look forward to hearing a great deal more.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

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