Grand Magus – Sword Songs
Running Time: 43:24
Review by Dawn King
Just the title of the album itself suggest that this latest offering from Swedish heavy metal band Grand Magus is going to be one of epic proportions and even after just one listen through it’s clear this is just what it is.
Recorded during the mid-winter months of 2015/2016 and produced by Nico Elgstrand, the nine track album is 35 minutes of beautifully crafted and bombastic heavy metal anthems. Released on 13th May 2016 by Nuclear Blast “Sword Songs” is the eighth studio album released by the three piece heavy metal band who hail from Stockholm in Sweden.
The band was originally formed in 1996 by former Cardinal Fang vocalist Janne “JB” Christofferson, bassist Mats “Fox” Skinner and first drummer Iggy, although he left the band in 1998 to be replaced by Frederik “Trisse” Liefvandahl, who was himself replaced by Ludwig “Ludde” Witt in 2012, so completing the present line-up.
Drawing influence from bands such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Judas Priest, Rainbow, Uriah Heep, Nazareth and Manowar, the band’s sound has evolved from its groove/doom origins to the mixture of blues, hard rock, heavy metal and doom they have today.
2014’s “Triumph and Power” saw a return to form for the band and “Sword Songs” has continued in much the same vein, only better, and to say that Grand Magus have excelled themselves this time round would not be an understatement.
Coming from Sweden, one of the most infamous origins of the Vikings, their lyrics revolve around Norse Mythology, paganism, pride and power, and instead of shying away from their influences they have totally embraced them, producing true heavy metal of the finest quality and an album that would be just at home in the 1980’s as it is in the present day.
In the words of “JB” himself: “we put all of our sweat, blood and tears into this new album and I think that you can hear that. For me, “Sword Songs” is the best Grand Magus album ever! The new songs are faster and more aggressive than on “Triumph and Power” and we have included some more extreme and harder stuff. I’m convinced there are some future classics on the disc.”
And he was not wrong. The album is glorious and anthemic, dynamic and heroic, with epic choruses that will lodge themselves in your sub consciousness, causing you to hum them out loud when you least expect to. There are cracking guitar solos and great vocals from JB, killer drums from Witt and the usual gnarly bass lines and tones from Skinner throughout the album, which contains no fillers and no bad tracks, each song an anthem in its own right.
This is a threesome that is, obviously, firing on all cylinders at the moment and could easily be described as one of the best metal bands around right now.
“Sword Songs” is a must for any metal fan so go get it and lets all hail ‘Viking Metal’ – (listen to the album and you will understand that particular reference!!)
01. Freja’s Choice
03. Forged In Iron – Crowned In Steel
04. Born For Battle (Black Dog Of Brocéliande)
05. Master Of The Land
06. Last One To Fall
07. Frost And Fire
09. Everyday There’s A Battle To Fight
Bonus Tracks (digipak only)
10. In For The Kill
11. Stormbringer (Deep Purple Cover)
Janne “JB” Christofferson – vocals, guitar
Mats “Fox” Skinner – bass, vocals
Ludwig “Ludde” Witt – drums
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Reproduced here with kind permission from Metal Gods TV