When I listened to GRAND MAGUS for the first time, I had a very good moment because it is always satisfying to listen to something new and original. GRAND MAGUS has always delivered that to me and I am sure that many other Metal fans will agree. Now that this album has been released once again, many people will be able to meet the origins of this great band. But first, allow me to share with you my thoughts about this great band.
If you have been around GRAND MAGUS’ career recently, the first impression you might get when you listen to this album is that it is not your typical GRAND MAGUS or Metal album, but as long as you keep listening carefully, you will start to perceive those rudimentary Doom Metal elements that GRAND MAGUS proudly use during their career - which are not as evolved as they should sound right now. The defining elements in this album belong to the successfully made mixed influences of Blues, Psychedelic Rock and Metal. Every fan of old fashioned music and veterans alike will perceive that, and it is a great achievement for the production to create an excellent balance; such a very important aspect when playing a style like this.
The moody tunes and lyrics, the powerful riffs, great bass and drum rhythms and the overall groove sensation are combined in a very exceptional way. The pace of the songs is amazing; you will listen to heavy pouncing bridges and suddenly GRAND MAGUS surprises us with an excellent guitar solo that reminds you of guitar work from those great late 70’s bands and then returns to the slow-paced atmosphere. These arrangements are outstanding and work perfectly.
The production works around the singing of Janne "JB" Christoffersson who has a very important role in the greatness of this album. His voice is deep, emotional and perfectly adapted to all the diverse elements used in the album. He also makes great work with the guitars; bringing strong riffs and spectacular solos which are then complimented by Fox Skinner (bass) and Fredrik ''Trisse'' Liefvendahl (drums), both of whom delivered excellent performances that create the atmosphere of the good old music.
In this new release, you will notice that there were no big changes made. The music was only improved. You will hear a couple of new songs, “Tale Of The Unexpected” and a new version of the song “Grand Magus”, both of which are good additions and do not stand out from the original tracks.
This is a hit or miss album and I will mention that your musical background will have a very important influence on how much you enjoy it. Many old school fans will be delighted with this album and if you are not into 70’s Rock or Blues, you still might want to give it a try, but probably you will get bored with time.
The influences are there and will be obvious for anyone who has listened to music from the 70’s. The songs are not so “heavy” as to be considered Doom Metal, but those glimpses are there. This would be a debut album to be considered “Heavy Metal” very close to the BLACK SABBATH origins.
I'll mention that this might not be an album that will invite you to start “headbanging,” but it certainly can create a very interesting perspective about originality and quality. If you didn’t have the chance to get this album when it was first released, this new version is another opportunity to do so.
(Online October 22, 2010)