|Review: Grand Magus - Iron Will|
Label: Rise Above Records
Year released: 2008
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: June 22, 2008
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 4.37/5 (87.33%) (30 Votes)
I was a big fan of Grand Magus' last work Wolf's Return, and so I was closely watching for this one. This band has been moving more and more away from their stoner origins and towards a more Traditional Metal sound ever since their second album Monument, and Iron Will firmly cements this band as one of the best straight-up metal bands around.
Grand Magus started out as a Sabbathy Doom band somewhere on the edge of stoner country, and some of their old fans will never accept that they have moved away from that. The rest of us, who are not weed-addled backbirths, can appreciate that Grand Magus gave up on being dull after one album and have gotten harder, heavier, and faster with each release. Iron Will shows very few traces of the band's origins, except perhaps on the slow crawl of "Self Deceiver", which is my least favorite song on this album. From the ripping opener "Like The Oar Strikes The Water" this is the catchiest, most consistent album the band has ever made. Far from dirgey stoner crap, this is packed with powerful, propulsive riffs like the thunderous stomp of the title cut or the air-guitar fuel of "The Shadow Knows". Janne B's fierce, clear vocals are a highlight of the album, belting out choruses that stick in your head like war-axes and never let go. The album closes with "I Am The North", which makes its Bathory-worship clear with the choral backgrounds and the slashing riff that sounds like something Quorthon would have put on Twilight Of The Gods. Despite the track listing, this last song is not nine minutes long. It's a five minute song, with 4 minutes of silence after and then a few bars of heavy bashing. Without the space waster, the album would only be about 36 minutes, so that's kind of annoying.
But I can't bear to dock the album even a quarter point for that, not when the songs on here are all so good. Riffs like this are rarely heard by mortal men. If you go to this expecting Doom, you will be disappointed. But if you want some powerful Heavy Metal that sounds like Bathory crossed with Monster Magnet, then this is not an album to miss. Absolutely killer.
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