July 31, 2021 was a special day for Claymorean: The Epic Heavy Metal Night took place in Kragujevac, the fourth largest city in Serbia, which allowed the quintet to finally get back on stage and celebrate their new album Eulogy for the Gods live. I may also speak on behalf of my colleague Aidan when I say that we were really looking forward to the release of this album, as the videos from this gig already showed what a terrific live band the outfit around founder Vladimir Garčević is. For those wondering why this release is titled Alive in Vultureburg: Kragujevac comes from “kraguj“ the Serbian name for cinereous vulture.
Looking at the setlist below, you can see that five of the twelve songs are from the aforementioned Eulogy for the Gods. If you start a show right away with four new tracks, which some fans might not even know yet, you are undoubtedly convinced of your own material. Otherwise, only Iron Maiden would dare to do something like that – but, and this is the crucial aspect, Claymorean do everything right at this point, as their fifth studio album is, in my opinion, their strongest to date. In addition, “Hunter of the Damned“ and “Battle in the Sky“ are two excellent show openers that get the audience up to full temperature right away.
Regarding the other tunes, the band focuses mainly on Sounds from a Dying World, released in 2017, which also shows the band in top form. They are joined by “The Triumph“, a classic from the early days (The First Dawn of Sorrow, 2003), and “We Fight Like Lions“ (Unbroken, 2015), one of the greatest numbers which should not be missing from any Claymorean gig. Aidan correctly notes in the discussion about this review that the Serbians generally have a strong back catalog that you should take a look at – there may be some pearls for you to discover. Closing an Epic Heavy Metal Night with cover versions of Manowar and Manilla Road is basically not a bad idea. If you know how much most of the members adore these two giants, this decision is even more than logical – luckily Claymorean have always been one of the bands that can play excellent cover versions: on request, Aidan strongly recommends “Into the Courts of Chaos“, released on the album Unbroken. Those who didn’t know that until now will confirm it at the latest after enjoying “Blood of my Enemies“ and “Flaming Metal Systems“. That’s just really fun!
Those who have listened to Alive in Vultureburg will be completely enthusiastic anyway and ask themselves when the Serbians will finally show up in their country. Claymorean are a fantastic live band (I like to repeat myself in this case), which has an outstanding singer in Dejana, who even in a state of poor health (just read the short explanation of the band on their Bandcamp page mentioned below) – as here in Kragujevac – easily sings the majority of the competitors into the ground. Together with Erica Stoltz (Sanhedrin), Sarabeth Linden (Tower) and Farida Lemouchi (The Devil’s Blood, Molassess) she is one of my absolute personal favorites who always blows me – and Aidan too – away.
But it would be wrong to reduce Claymorean to their frontwoman. The rhythm section drives our lions from the Balkans with a lot of power – Marko Novaković recommends himself in a short but fine drum solo as Nameless Ghoul for a Serbian gig of his favorite band Ghost that might take place someday. The guitar section also shines with powerful riffing and some really nice leads that make every metal heart beat faster.
Conclusion: That I give a buy recommendation is evident. Alive in Vultureburg impresses with a great setlist, excellent performing musicians and an amazingly good sound. As once Cato the Elder used to say “Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam“, you will hear from me constantly from now on: “Book Claymorean for your festivals – the billing will be twice as attractive!” If this band would come from Germany, Sweden or the UK, they would already be much better known in our scene – which is supposed to be all about talent. Well, what is not, can still be – and you can help in this regard: Just send Alive in Vultureburg as a business card to every booker in the future! Whoever doesn’t hire Claymorean after that has never loved metal… and should end up like Carthage once did.
Hunter of the Damned (Eulogy for the Gods)
Battle in the Sky (Eulogy for the Gods)
Mystical Realm (Eulogy for the Gods)
In the Tombs of Atuan (Eulogy for the Gods)
The Triumph (The First Dawn of Sorrow)
Blood-Red Shield (Sounds from a Dying World)
Rage of the White Wolf (Sounds from a Dying World)
Spirit of Merciless Time (Eulogy for the Gods)
Old Mountain (Sounds from a Dying World)
We Fight Like Lions (Unbroken)
Blood of my Enemies (Manowar, Hail to England)
Flaming Metal Systems (Manilla Road, Crystal Logic)
Uroš Kovačević – Guitars
Marko Novaković – Drums
Vladimir “Vlad Invictus“ Garčević – Guitars
Goran Garčević – Bass
Dejana Betsa Garčević – Vocals
Alive in Vultureburg on Bandcamp.