Grand Magus discography

Author:Thy Sentinel
Date:2017-02-02 15:46:55
The only “true” metal band that I repeatedly listened to last year was Grand Magus. In fact, I listened to their entire catalog (along with AC/DC, Tom Waits, and a Russian folk band Tambourine). I guess you can say this is the metal sound that appeals to me the most at this point. It’s basically a blend of Black Sabbath and Manowar with killer songwriting, crushing riffs, and gritty vocals. So let me do a quick recap of their discography.

Debut (2001). Humble beginnings. Many mediocre tracks. Nothing to see here. **

Monument (2003). Warming up. At least four songs are good-to-great: “Ulvaskall,” “Summer Solstice,” “Stonecircle,” and my favorite “Food of the Gods.” ***1/2

Wolf’s Return (2005). Even better. Opening “Kingslayer” rocks indeed (gotta hear it to understand the reference), followed by “Wolf’s Return,” “Blood Oath,” “Repay in Kind,” and “Ashes”: all with killer choruses and tasty riffs. “Light Hater” is also strong. This is where it starts coming together: catchy melodies, anthemic choruses, driving pace, thick guitar tone, strong singing, and “heroic” Viking lyrics. ****

Iron Will (2008). The mix of Sabbath and Manowar has finally been brewed to perfection. Simply superb, starting from “Like the Oar Strikes the Water,” through “Fear Is the Key,” and into phenomenal title track, followed by “Silver into Steel,” fast and aggressive “The Shadow Knows,” and stomping “Beyond Good and Evil,” and “I Am the North.” Sensational. ****1/2

Hammer of the North (2010). Probably their pinnacle. It just doesn’t get any better than this in my book. “I, the Jury,” another phenomenal title track, killer “Black Sails,” “Northern Star,” “The Lord of Lies,” vicious “At Midnight They’ll Get Wise,” “Bond of Blood,” furious “Savage Tales,” thundering “Ravens Guide Our Way,” and finally “Crown of Iron.” Perfect. *****

The Hunt (2012). This album a slightly poppy sound, recalling 80s rock (especially in the beginning), but quickly goes back to awesomeness on songwriting alone. “Starlight Slaughter” is great despite the sound, and then everything else just rocks: “Valhalla Rising,” “Silver Moon,” “Storm King” (oh hell yeah!), title track, “Son of the Last Breath,” “Iron Hand,” “Draksadd,” and “Sword of the Ocean.” ****1/2

Triumph and Power (2014). I don’t understand how these guys seem to effortlessly crank out one hit after another. Less Sabbath, slightly more Manowar here. “Steel Versus Steel,” “Fight,” yet another fabulous title track, slightly cheesy “Dominator,” awesome “Holmgang” (great guitar solo), galloping “The Naked and the Dead,” and Sabbathy “Hammer Will Bite.” ****1/2

Sword Songs (2016). Less impressive than the previous four, but I guess it was bound to happen. Terrific “Varangian” with its slight folk tinge (not unlike Falconer, but without the operatics and the double bass overkill) is a clear highlight. The rest follows the formula. This one is more doomy Sabbath though. “Freja’s Choice” is a strong opener. “Forget in Iron – Crowned in Steel” with its “Viking metal!” chorus is probably a little to cheesy to truly stand out, but it’s fun. “Master of the Land,” “Last One to Fall” (I can see Sabbath-era Dio singing it), “Frost and Fire,”and “In for the Kill” are all solid-to-great. Finally there is a great cover of Deep Purple’s “Stormbringer” that fits GM like a glove. ****


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