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Speedclaw - Beast in the Mist Award winner

Speedclaw
Beast in the Mist
by Jon Conant at 23 April 2018, 2:47 AM

Newcomers from Croatia, SPEEDCLAW, are back with their second release, EP “Beast in the Mist” (which follows up their 2016 EP “Iron Speed”). This is an exciting album stuffed full of wild speed metal, packed to the absolute brim with blistering solos and creative melodies. The technical skill presented here is of a very high level, and for a young band using somewhat more basic equipment, they make no excuses and push their sound to it’s fullest. Granted, it is a very specific brand of metal: 90s speed/thrash with an affinity for women, booze, and leather jackets. But if you can buy into the sound, it’s really, really good…

Right out the gate, I am loving the bands creativity and awareness. 1:30 opener “Prelude” is a soft, thoughtful, and melodically driven instrumental guitar piece that is emotionally beautiful and perfectly performed. It was a fantastic way to kick off the EP, the gorgeous melody is a beautiful contrast to the old school speed/thrash sound that immediately kicks in on track 2 “Beast in the Mist.”

This is also where things get a little more tricky for the album, because the boys in SPEEDCLAW are going for a VERY specific aesthetic and sound that you have to buy into. Unfortunately, for many people in 2018, 90s thrash isn’t exactly the freshest or most inviting sound. But all the parts are performed well, and 2nd track “Beast in the Mist” provides a lot of different texture and layers, with ebb and flow in the songwriting that allows the song to move and groove as opposed to feeling stagnate. The production also has that classic chambered/hollow sound that is so characteristic of the genre, and they execute it artfully.

I can’t get enough of the sick solos, track 3 “Faster Than Hell” does not hold back on the virtuoso solo leads scattered throughout the song. Track 4 “Rising of the Claw” is no different than the first two numbers, just with the intensity upped to an even higher level. The vocals are yelled even more wildly, the solos are performed with even more intensity, and the tempo is even more unrelenting. The excitement does a perfect job holding the middle of the album together and pushing it through to the end, which finishes on a strong, dark, and macabre note with “Evil That You See.” It’s a very complete feeling EP that does not slow down or lose your interest.

I am very excited to see what SPEEDCLAW does next, if/when they release a full length. I highly commend the technical precision and skill, blistering intensity, and fantastic melodies that provide texture and variety without falling flat or becoming derivative. Really excellent stuff here.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 7
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:

1. Prelude
2. Beast in the Mist
3. Faster than Hell
4. Rising of the Claw
5. Aggression Strikes
6. Evil that You See

Lineup:
Luka Jurišić - Guitar
Silvano Ćosić - Vocals, Bass
Luka Hrelja - Guitar
Dorian Perušić - Drums
Record Label: Shadow Kingdom Records
     


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