20 Jul 2019

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Claemus - Singles Review: 'Rule of Two' and 'Progenitor'

16 May 2019 // A review by Kris Raven

Hutt Valley's finest, Claemus, have just dropped the first two singles from their forthcoming EP. If the singles and previous works are anything to go by then our ears are in for some of the finest progressive rock/metal this year.

The first single Rule of Two is a 6-minute master class of epic proportions. The song has the heaviness of Gojira with the ambient stroke and cleaner elements of Karnivool's third album Asymmetry, which is one hell of a mix. Beginning with a discordant chug intro, its broody half time feel carries a lot of groove, featured throughout the song. Lead vocalist & Guitarist Taylor Hemson's vocals are introduced in the second accompanied by a pleasant balance of finger picked melodic guitar with harmonious guitar strokes, the guitars interweaving while the rhythm section holds down the foundation. Like many progressive bands, the song is less verse to chorus and repeat structure but more a series of parts that ascend and descend flawlessly with a mix of heavy crunchy riffs and ambient beautiful melodies.

I would highly recommend checking out their video for this song, detailing intricate parts of the guitars, time signature changes and how the china cymbal hits from drummer Kit Jenkins exemplify the rhythmic structure. Guitarist Dan Hayston supports with clean backing vocals while bassist Kerry Mitchell with the harsher tones, it really just adds those exciting extra layers. A longer ambient section follows showcasing bassist Mitchell's bass techniques as well as the addition of synth. My favourite part of the song comes in around the 4 minute, 15 second mark, where lead guitarist Hayston sweeps over the breakdown, while exceptionally technical it's also super catchy and melodic as it rides over the heaviness of the rhythm guitar and sweet bass slaps. A roller coaster of a song, Claemus showcase phenomenal writing and technical proficiency from each member throughout.

The second single Progenitor is perhaps the catchier of the two. Beginning with an open delayed riff with the other guitar flowing across and subtle keys, the emotive vocals then come in with the drums and bass. Like the previous song, Claemus create intricate timing structures with bass and drum rhythmic play between. The song reminds me a little of newer Periphrey, moving between the stunning clean ambient sections and the heavy double kick fest, all guitars and bass completely locked into the rhythm. Once again we are treated to another mid-section piece of glorious lead guitar with the earlier keyboards lingering in the background making the song pop even more. This song also features screamed/harsh vocals which are really clear, a little reminiscent of Aaron Turner of Isis the Band, adding another next level of depth and change.

The final piece of the song after some soaring vocals from Hemson, goes into overdrive, climaxing in layers of chugging guitars and off beat prog heaviness. What I love about the production and writing of these songs is how every member shines throughout, often complimenting other parts but not overplaying.

Production comes in the form of the band, mixing by Zorran Mendonsa (New Way Home, Seas of Conflict) and mastering by Forrester Savall (Karnivool, City of Souls). A fantastic team and mix of production qualities that really amplify the songs complexities. Like I have said in previous reviews, the level of depth, composition, skill and just overall quality coming from the NZ metal and rock scene is insane, be sure to catch Claemus on the Crooked Royals tour and follow them for their new EP, you will be blown away!

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Claemus

The underlying ethos in Claemus has been to fuse the musical influences of three musicians coming from classic rock, Avante garde and death metal backgrounds.

Starting in late 2011 the band aimed to achieve new sonic possibilities in the progressive rock genre by fusing ambient textural sounds, deep rhythmic grooves and catchy hooks. With influences ranging from Karnivool, Mudvayne, God is an Astronaut and Shpongle it is clear that Claemus want to be defined by a musical approach rather than a particular genre. Claemus’ musical approach can be characterised by a philosophy that aims to give each song a unique feeling often resulting in varying dynamics, time signatures and key changes in the one song.

Claemus has been together for five years and are based in the Hutt Valley which is a largely suburban area located outside of Wellington. The experience of growing up in a small town with an uncultured stereotype attached to it has served as serious musical inspiration. Instead of adhering to the stereotype ascribed by outsiders, the band aims to encourage youth to pursue creative outlets and be proud of their roots. Pursuing a creative outlet has enabled Claemus to slowly become an exciting band on the rise within the Wellington scene.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Claemus


Year: 2016
Type: EP

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