I believe I have put this in writing before but being a reviewer is bloody great, we get such tremendous opportunities to explore new music that unfortunately get may have been left behind, either by the lack of time or the lack of magical dollar.
Grand Magus certainly was in that list and no matter how many times they have been shoved in my face by friends or popped up on YouTube I have unfortunately missed out on it.
A bit of Grand Magus Background they are a Heavy Metal trio hailing from Sweden mixing heavy metal, a dash of doom, a dollop of power metal and certainly Viking Metal when you hear these songs.
Opening the album with `Freja’s Choice’, it sets the album in motion perfectly, beginning with a heavy slow beat and riff that’s very akin to Spiritual Beggers however it’s the vocals really add the difference and I’m not sure where to quite place them in the lexicon of metal singers as it’s not only heavy and gritty but also carries with it a melody that is distinctive and definitely something the Viking hordes can and will sing-along to.
Up next is ` Varangian’, opening with hammering drums of what sounds like an approaching Viking army which builds up until the guitars and drums get underway you know that this is
definitely one of the tracks on the album that will on repeat. `Varangain’ is essentially how the Vikings would tell their tales of epic sagas to their young if they had the power of the riff, I mean it’s not hard to really envisage it when you’re singing about `Warriors, Defenders of Steel’, pretty epic stuff.
`Forged In Iron-Crowned In Steel’ comes in at 5 minutes and 38 seconds and is again a great example of how to keep the listen interested for the whole song rather than just sections or the opening which can happen if you’re aiming to write songs over 5 minutes. The song carries on Grand Magus epic storytelling on `Sword Songs’ starting with `Freja’s Choice’ through to the last track, it opens with a rather appealing clean guitar passage when it launches into a power metal riff and the choruses are just epic and will certainly be a staple live, simple and very catchy.
`Sword Songs’ is a great introduction to Grand Magus if like me you’ve unfortunately missed the longship or fancy something a bit different especially if that something that boarders what I would class as power metal and Viking metal.
With the power of the riff, commanding vocals carrying such epic themes of the Vikings and ages past, it’s a fun, well rounded album and doesn’t get dull or repetitive over the 9 tracks of Viking Metal.
Stand out tracks:
`Varangian’, `Forged In Iron-Crowned In Steel’ and `Frost And Fire’
9/10- It’s a fun and an enjoyable romp through the Viking lands and sagas.
1. Freja’s Choice
3. Forged In Iron- Crowned In Steel
4. Born For Battle (Black Dog of Borceliande)
5. Master Of The Land
6. Last One To Fall
7. Frost And Fire
8. Hugr (Instrumental)
9. Every Day There’s A Battle To Fight
Grand Magus on the net: