Grimgotts – Tales, Sagas & Legends
Release Date: 07/05/2021
Running Time: 67:00
Review by Simon Black
Named after the goblin run fictional bank in the Harry Potter franchise and originally starting off life as a parody act of that story arc, Britain’s Grimgotts have now branched off into their own fantasy world and stories – presumably because cease and desist letters from J.K. Rowling’s brand protection lawyers can have that effect on a band. This third full length album is actually a re-release of the trilogy of EP’s they released gradually over 2020, which have been repackaged and remastered for this release and just so you don’t feel hard done by they have thrown in a re-recording of ‘Fight Against the World’ from their first album, recent single ‘Grimgotts Calling’ and an orchestral extra ‘Lost Chapters’ which helpfully powers through the story arc with a narrated section.
Musically this is an interesting Euro Power and Folk Metal fusion project, although the Power is definitely the predominate voice in the first EP. “Tales” is definitely the weakest part of this composite release, but unfortunately you need to get through it first. The four tracks, although competent have little to differentiate from each other in terms of tone and frankly if you listen to one of the four songs, you have the measure of the four.
Although, obviously written as one arc and remastered, they clearly were not recorded together as the constituent parts do sound so distinctly different and to be honest the sound improves as the arc progresses. As indeed does the writing, playing and pretty much every aspect of the recording as the team hit their stride with this second EP (and again indeed for the final part). The use of some more growling voices in the mix also helps provide some tonal contrasts, as indeed is a general upping of the Folk ante beyond the Alestorm style sea shanty nods on the “Tales” segment, with ‘Plunder, Loot And Chantey’ being the most obvious example, although the instrumental work gets way more technically proficient than you would expect from that corner of the genre. In fact, the guitar work on this segment of the album is an absolute joy, although bizarrely is more restrained elsewhere.
The final “Legends” EP segment seems to effectively fuse and balance the Power / Folk struggle and create a slightly more distinctive and cohesive, if less technical sound. The song structures are a bit cleaner too and less rambling, although overall it’s still missing a stand out lead song for everyone to wave their phone lights to when we all can finally get into a live arena (although the anthemic chorus of ‘Land of Tomorrow’ comes pretty darn close). To be honest this EP is head and shoulders above the other two, as they really seem to have found their stride with this section and the song-writing, performances and use of multiple voices make for a much stronger and more powerful delivery style. They also strike the tonal balance perfectly with these four songs, which are all very different in pace and style from each other and also do a better job of communicating the story arc. To be brutally honest, if the first two segments had been of this calibre, then overall my rating would have been much, much higher.
Of the extra tracks, ‘Fight Against the World’ achieves the one thing the three EP’s don’t quite manage – a distinctive trademark song to pull the punters in, but unfortunately given that it’s been around for a long while I can’t really count it. By the same rule ‘Grimgotts Calling’ can’t be counted either, although it’s definitely got the catchy shanty aspects down pat.
If you can get beyond the relatively weak opening segment this is entertaining and enjoyable stuff, but does lack a clear and distinctive ‘everyman’ track or two to hang your hat on in, although the extras demonstrate that they can write them perfectly well. The “Legends” EP is by far the best of the three, but hearing the arc develop has its strengths as well and overall, this is not a bad release which allows you to see a growth and progression in their work.
“Tales, Sagas & Legends” (Official Full Album)
01. Fight ‘Till The End
02. For The Power
03. The Dawnbringer
04. Reign Of Might
05. Northern Passage
06. Rise Again
07. Plunder, Loot & Chantey
09. The Boys Of Boone
10. Land Of Tomorrow
11. The Edge Of The World (To What Lies Beyond)
13. Fight Against The World
14. Grimgotts Calling
15. Lost Chapters
Andy Barton – Vocals
David Hills – Guitars
Fabio Garau – Keyboards
Nelson Moreira – Bass
Mo Abdelgadir – Drums
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