AUSTRALIAN MUSICIAN (2008) - Eva Roberts:

WITH the release of their fifth studio album and a swag of dates at some of the country's most reputable festivals, Victorian-based Celtic rock band Claymore are firmly cementing themselves as
one of Australia's most unique musical exports.

It's unusual to classify a band as our own when they perform a bevy of Scottish and Irish influenced tunes, and most of the members have an international heritage, but there is an unerring 'Australianess' about their music.

The fact that the band's latest release 'Reflection' features an impressive version of AC/DC's classic 'Long Way to the Top', stretched out to eight minutes with a full bagpipe interlude only goes further to assist this reputation.

Claymore's full sound, enhanced by the six members who playa wide array of instruments from the traditional bodhran to the bagpipes, certainly rocks up the Gaelic genre.

Lead singer and manager William Hutton admits this is something traditionalists don't always agree with, but by the same token, it also wins them new fans.

"In some circles we get frowned upon," Williams says."Real traditional people think you should never play it like that, whereas other people think it is a natural progression to rock it up a bit and get a bit more modern and attract a new audience to it."

The line-up also features Grant Scroggie on bagpipes, Michael Doyle on guitar, mandolin and fiddle, Lindsay Hodgson on bass, Craig Scroggie on drums and percussion, Mick Mills on drums and the majority of the band on bodhran.

Although the line-up hasn't changed over the past 12 years, William believes that the new album is by far the best yet and feels it is with this release that Claymore has finally arrived.

"The reason we called it 'Reflection' is because it is a reflection of what the band is now, as opposed to what we used to be," he says. "When the band started it was just a duet of traditional folk music, so it has progressed a lot since.

'Reflection' was launched at the Port Fairy Folk Festival this year, and was just the first of many festival appearances Claymore has planned for 2008.

Over the years they've played at some of Australia's biggest events including the National Celtic Festival, Queenscliff Music Festival, Big Blues Day Out, Perth International Arts Festival and the Brunswick Music Festival. The band has performed all around the globe including a headlining gig at the acclaimed Festival-lnterceltique De Lorient France.