Grand Magus

Iron Will

Written by: EW on 09/07/2008 22:57:18

Some bands always seem under-appreciated and smaller than they should rightfully be, with Sweden\'s Grand Magus being a perfect case in point. Having slowly shifted from the Stoner / Doom groove of their self-titled debut and \"Monument\" to a more NWOBHM / classic Metal feel on \"The Wolf\'s Return\" and new album \"Iron Will\", Grand Magus have avoided being confined to one genre without losing integrity nor goodwill from their fanbase due to the conviction in which the change has taken place. Not for one second does their largely unmodern approach feel contrived or forced, giving an air of defiance and pride that can surely be loved by any fan of what is essentially hard rock music.

2005\'s \"The Wolf\'s Return\" was largely free of the ponderous Doom found on the preceding \"Monument\", and \"Iron Will\" has gone further, being largely free of riffs slow enough to be classified merely as \'Doom\'. Strangely though, a strong-Candlemass influence is noticeable in a number of tracks such as \"Beyond Good And Evil\" and \"Iron Will\", and this works because the approach harks back to the fact that Doom was spawned directly from the birth of Heavy Metal itself (read: Black Sabbath) with the two having always been somewhat long-distance siblings. The strongest moments to be found on \"Iron Will\", a title as defiant as one can get this side of chest-thumpers Hatebreed, come in some gloriously upbeat and epic choral sections during \"The Shadow Knows\" and \"I Am The North\" that would not be amiss in a recent Candlemass record. Such fine moments of melodic, epic Heavy Metal are really something to behold and backed up by an excellent production courtesy of Oneman and the band themselves create as strong and forceful a music as any Metal band can muster. Vocalist (/guitarist) JB also cements his position as being one of Metal\'s most recognised voices during the course of \"Iron Will\" and deserves commendation for having furthered himself with each record. For any fans of the aforementioned \"Monument\" album, myself included, who were still hoping for some Doom-iness, this is largely contained to \"Self Deceiver\" which maintains a more desperate feel that is generally of the preserve of Solitude Aeturnus. The lack of Doom is acceptable though for fans of classic Metal bands such as Accept and Saxon, who will find much to love here through such a shared kindred spirit.

Despite being the self-confessed Kings of Metal, Manowar could take a leaf out of Grand Magus\' book in how to write songs that are catchy, epic and Metal as fuck without moving so far in to the field of the ridiculous to come across as over-weight and up their arse. The progression between \"The Wolf\'s Return\" and \"Iron Will\" might not have been great but then does it really matter? This is a damn catchy album and Grand Magus have found themselves a style preventing their pigeonholing and are the better for it. Whether this remains a peak for the band that cannot be topped, however, is not clear as further development will be required to expand the sound in the future, but all that is required now is for YOU to buy this record and enjoy its upbeat anthemic Heavy Metal for yourself.

Download: The Shadow Knows, I Am The North, Iron Will
For The Fans Of: Candlemass, Manowar, Accept
Listen: Myspace
Buy: iTunes

Release date 13.06.2008
Rise Above Records

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