When people hear heavy metal, Croatia is typically not the first country that comes to mind. Sure enough, though, metal from there exists. Speedclaw are a heavy/speed metal band that borrow from all of the classic styles of this genre. They actually haven’t put out any full lengths yet, as Beast In The Mist is their second EP. To be honest, the six tracks contained here are almost long enough to warrant a full length, as it clocks in just under thirty minutes. It’s a pretty fast ball of energy that’s rather one sided and doesn’t venture away from its roots, but the song complexions are very impressive, especially in the tone shifts.
There’s a short acoustic prelude track to start us off, but the title track takes the bull by the horns immediately and attacks the eardrums with clear and concise guitar riffs. The first song that came to mind was Dio’s “Stand Up And Shout.” It has the exact same level of energy and note layout. Speedclaw is definitely a little more menacing, and the drums roll through like a fast passing thunderstorm and show no mercy at all. The way that they kick everything into motion and back the shredding solos could not be more perfect. The riffs are fast picked at an outrageous pace and maintain this speed through almost all of the run time. Moreover, none of the tracks remain stagnant. They can have that fun energy that’s rather welcoming, and then immediately strike you with a harder riff played in minor key. The way that the guitar leads carry this without overshadowing everything else is absolutely beautiful. The constant is just how fast it all is. Extremely fast riffs and solos that cover the higher notes come at you on full throttle.
Vocally, it’s pretty damn good too. There’s the perfect amount of rasp to it, while remaining clear enough to understand everything that Silvano is saying and containing a decent amount of melody. Sometimes, this drops off some because the focus shifts into being the fastest they can be, thus abandoning melody. “Rising Of The Claw” is a good example of this, but even after the verses are done, it switches into a shredding solo to weave the two sections together. If it isn’t obvious by now, the key ingredients to this are speed, speed, speed, and uh, oh yeah, speed! It does seem very one sided on paper, but really, the vocal delivery, solo tactics, drum kicks, and riff writing are all various enough to make it worthwhile. It’s just that none of it slows down for a breath, which is impressive.
Beast In The Mist was released through Shadow Kingdom Records on December 29th, 2017. It can be bought on CD, vinyl, and digitally on their Bandcamp page.