Sword Songs - Grand Magus

For the party with the cliche

The 80's-like guitar rip-roaring Randy Guitarist-cliche, the Judas-Priest'ed twin guitar cliche, the Manowar-esque mans choir-who-sing-about-vikings-in-battle-cliche and the Def Leppard-esque vocals-sings-first-half-of-verse-only-with-the drums-the cliche. Such stereotypes are all jumbled together in one big hotchpotch, so the album seems original in a klichefyldt way (or maybe klichefyldt in an original way). For some it will be silly, ridiculous and "stupid", but for those who can accept the premise, the Grand Magus made an absolutely fantastic album, which I plan to hear often and loud.

Swedish genrehybrid play epic songs of the sword – in a cool way.

An educational journey through the genres

Grand Magus is a cliché – in many areas. Full blast of the fantasy lyrics about vikings, norse mythology and all around Manowar ambiance. Mans choir, which sings on the steel, rip-roaring dual-guitars and more cowboy-vest, and leather, than the Saxon could bear. And it is cool. For it being delivered with a twinkle in his eye, a behind-skuende tribute to the heroes and good understanding for the present.

Grand Magus has since the beginning been in a genre borderland between classic heavy metal, doom metal, sludge metal and beer dispense head-rock. Each album since their debut in 2001, the priority of all these genres in the more or less successful degree and with the overall trend, that the doom-metallen has become an increasingly smaller part, and 80's metal a larger.

After a long journey filled with albums that were all good, not perfect, but bore the stamp of a potential, there was something really special, is the Grand Magus finally reached the goal. The perfect genremæssige balance was actually hit on their last album, Triumph and Power, which, however, had the big minus, the good and memorable melodies simply did not materialize. This is not the case with the Sword Songs. A week after I heard the album for the first time, I am still and smånynner riffs and melodistykker. And my fist still involuntarily in the air, when I for 10. time hear the chorus in the masterpiece "Forged in Iron – Crowned in Steel" – all the while I sing with on the mandekoret, jr "Viking METAL".

Vokalens limitations

The production on the album looking mind in the direction of the newer wave of american metal, where the emphasis is on a brutal, but still round, deep and veldifferentieret sound – where the sound is bombastic, but where you can still distinguish the various instruments distinctly from each other. However, there is a problem with the choral pieces in several chorus: They are simply too sloppy recorded. Check out the f.ex. the chorus in the otherwise cool number "Varangian".

Otherwise it is some competent musicians who play their music, as they should. The vocals are delivered by Janne "JB" Christoffersson, who has finally discovered that he does not need to try to make its voice more rocket than it really is. His deep vocal leader very much in mind of Rob Halford – however, only when this is in its deep register. And herein lies the second point of criticism: even though the vocals are delivered, as well as deficiencies in the course of the album a bit range within the register. The music cries once in a while after a vowel, in the wildest falsetto screaming "YEEEEAAAAH". On uforløsende show comes the however never. It may be due to the limitations of Janne "JB" Christofferssons abilities, but it can also, of course, to the Grand Magus has estimated that it would be the kind of cliché that got the cup to float far, far, far beyond its edges.

>> Check the songs and lyrics here