Make way for the kings.
With howling wolves at their heels and crowing ravens overhead, Sweden’s GRAND MAGUS are rolling into your province with enough might and majesty to drive even the most blood-swollen troll from beneath his mossy bridge and into the sun’s blinding glare.
The trio’s latest offering of Heavy Metal and Doom is “Hammer Of The North,” the band’s fifth full-length album, and arguably, their most relentlessly captivating release yet.
From the album’s opening track “I, The Jury,” with all its driving rhythm and bad-assery, to its closer, “Ravens Guide Our Way,” a thundering bass-heavy groove-fest, no single song strips away the pure Metal cohesion that is captured within the album’s soulful and fiery hearth.
It’s a strange idea indeed to think that such a monstrously good Metal album is sans double-bass beating, but (practically) void it is, and in consequential it remains – all around, the instrumentation is top-notch. The guitar sound is a beastly crunch of bones and the bass flows with a squeeze of rich blood and bosomy milk! And the drumming, as rudimentary as it sounds and most likely is, provides a sturdy backbone that generates enough foot-pounding and head-banging to free the soul of any and every wretch or dastard.
Another quite inexorable aspect of “Hammer Of The North” is the expressive and seemingly limitless vocal range of Janne ''JB'' Christoffersson, who in quite casual fashion sings and wails and pours with the very exact amount of Power and Heavy Metal that such tremendously stirring music calls for.
It’s truthfully a painstaking endeavor to explicate the sheer pleasure this reviewer experienced whilst listening to this - GRAND MAGUS’ latest offering - very memorable, aesthetically robust slab of epic, gnarly Heavy Metal.
Undoubtedly, “Hammer Of The North” is one of the year’s most excellent pieces of music.
Songs of interest: Each and every composition obtains its own regal value, but I simply cannot deny the incalculable number of times I’ve yearned to hear the album’s second track, “Hammer Of The North.”
(Online October 11, 2010)