The warlords of heavy metal are back with quite a ferocious package!
With the kings of metal – Manowar, duh – seemingly going on pension (as if that’ll last) as of 2017, who will pick up the mantle as the supreme rulers of the realm? With a slew of brilliant albums behind them, the previous of which being the immortal opus ‘Triumph and Power’ from 2014, Grand Magus surely stand ready and are more than capable!
JB Christoffersson and company play an astonishingly, almost provokingly, simple brand of heavy metal, and while their music and lyrics are blatantly elementary and macho, the message is clear: Don’t take everything so seriously and let the riffs carry you away. Each riff is crafted, carried and performed in such a way that you think to yourself it’s amazing that no one else has thought of it before. But the album isn’t without its own faults.
“Varangian fully lives up to the power you expect from the Swedish trio,”
The album opener, Freja’s Choice, for example, sounds like a rehashed riff from the DOOM 2 soundtrack, and tracks like Master of the Land fail to impress simply because it lacks that certain spark of life that comes from the infusion of pure metal power. But what some of Grand Magus’ compositions lack, they make up for on other occasions. As an example, Varangian fully lives up to the power you expect from the Swedish trio, while the latter half of Forge in Iron – Crowned in Steel can also invoke manly tears with the sheer masculine beauty of the chorus.
As always Grand Magus’ album presents like an anvil falling through the roof – They really put the ‘heavy’ in heavy metal. No wimpy attitudes, overly melodic solos or trends. Evil tongues would claim they ride a wave of retro heavy metal, but ‘Sword Songs’ is merely a continuation of the truly uncompromising style of battle metal that they have been writing for years. No regrets, no apologies – Only riffs to melt your face!
Released in 2016 by Nuclear Blast
Review by Jakob Goul (TONEwood)
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