Band: Grand Magus
Album: Wolf God
Genre: Heavy Metal
Release date: 19th of April
Released via Nuclear Blast
Cover artwork © Nuclear Blast 2019
Wolf God is the ninth studio album by the Swedish band Grand Magus. Their self-titled debut was released in 2001 and their last release “Sword Songs” was released in 2016. This trio plays slow to mid-tempo songs, with powerful riffs and catchy drums, making you raise your fist and tap your toe. JB Christoffersson, lead singer and guitarist, sings with a clean and characteristic voice.
On Wolf God we can find ten songs in total, including an orchestral intro, ‘“Gold and Glory”, with a total playtime of nearly 39 minutes. Three songs are longer than five minutes, one, excluding the intro, is shorter then three minutes, and the other songs somewhere between three and four minutes. So nothing special here.
After the intro we directly start with the title track of the album. Who can guess what “Wolf God” is about? The band starts with powerful drums, and long-sounding guitar chords. The stomping groove won’t let you loose. Chromatic guitar solo after three quartes of the song, and a final chorus in a higher key. Simple but proven songwriting.
“A Hall Clad in Gold” starts with a fast drum intro and riff, taking you on a ride. But then the vocals slow you down. The guitar doubles the vocal lines, but the drums stay fast until the chorus. I really liked that groove, but in my opinion the vocals kill it. Chromatic part again in the guitar solo, but this time there is some kind of oriental flavour in there as well. I like that one. Then we can hear the intro again, and finally a single lead guitar with some wind blowing in the background and broken chords. This lead sounds quite familiar somehow.
“Brother Of The Storm” starts with a nice riff. In the verse JB sings while the instruments pause. Sounds good. Like that one. In my ears, that is a song to be played live. Great to be sing along by the audience. The guitar solos form is orientated on the verse, so no drums in some parts. Good idea, lot of focus on JB, my favorite so far.
“Dawn of Fire” tries to let us feel some danger. The guitar part in the bridge lets you feel this threat. I like it when music is used this way, to transpose some feelings. But there is one problem. I start to dislike the drum groove. Is it the same groove all the time? Okay, there are some other parts and fills in the songs but, let’s see…
Ahh… much better. Fast guitar riff, fast drums. That’s a heavy metal song. “Spear Thrower” starts quite good. But the band slows down again in the chorus, and all the drive is gone. And somehow the drums sound the same again. The solo makes me forget the groove again. And we’re done with the “Spear Thrower“
Grand Magus definitely found their way of making music. But for my taste it gets more and more boring with each song I listen to. None of the songs is bad, but they sound quite similar most of the time. It’s some kind of AC/DC-ish problem. You listen to a few songs, and think they are great. You start waiting for a surprise, for something else. Then there seems to be something new, but a few seconds later it’s again the same groove.
“Glory To The Brave” comes along with another tasteful solo. Yeah – I like them – in my opinion they could spend more time with the guitar solos, but that is just my taste of music. “He Sent Them All To Hell” includes another threatening guitar riff, and a chorus sung more aggressively by JB. Not sure about this one to be honest. Don’t like the guitar solo either. “Untamed” the albums last song, gives us some kind of Judas Priest feel, the fast guitar solo to the start fits to that. But then, again, the same groove. Come on, you can play something else, don’t you Ludwig?
It is not that easy to rate the album. I like the production, the sound. Most of the songs are quite nice to hear, I’m nodding my head, tapping my toe to the beat. But in the lenght of the album the songs are too similar. I like more variety in my music and would be happy to find some tracks in a playlist for a BBQ or something. I’m quite sure that I would ask for the name of the band, you know the way it works. But after I’d potentially would have bought and listened to the whole album, after the second or third time, it would need quite a long time for another run. If I needed to rate the songs seperately, I think they would get a higher rating…
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
As usual, we added the two favorite tracks to our Transcended Review Playlist