Released by: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: Out Now!!!
JB – Vocals, Guitar
Fox – Bass
Ludwig – Drums
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
Everyday there’s a battle to fight. . .
One of the best heavy metal bands return with their eighth studio album Sword Songs released through Nuclear Blast. The album begins as a more blues/doom themed album and twists into a genre spanning tale of power metal and classic rock that the band is famed for from such albums as “Iron Will” and “Wolfs Return”.
One of the highlight tracks from the album is Forged in “Iron – Crowned in Steel” which is a power metal ballad and pays homage for fans of Manowar, Dio and Black Sabbath with Grand Magus’ spin on things. It begins with the sound of acoustic guitars and then breaks into heavy riffs topped with the chorus, “Viking Metal, A warriors degree, Deaths victory”. This song has a great breakdown and feel to it that will go down great live with the bands European tour with Amon Amarth and Testament in the Fall.
“Warriors, defenders of Steel. .Burn our way to Odins hall from all battlefields”
The track” Varangian” stands out as one of the more technical tracks on the album which shows how far the band have travelled on their musical journey. The beginning has a very 80s sounding guitar tone with dual harmonies throughout with a lead riff which reminded me of Iron Maiden. It’s a very catchy heavy metal song that is inspired by the Varagnian guards who used to employ Scandinavian Vikings who used to act as the Varaganian guard in these historic events.
The track “Sword Songs” is an epic track that is very heavy and fast where there is a lot going on in it. It could be described as the centrepiece of the album as the title track. In For The Kill is not to be confused with the Budgie or Black Sabbath song from the Seventh Star album, this is Grand Magus’ own song. But you can tell that the album is influenced by Tony Iommi’s playing and the Black Sabbath tone. “Hugr” is an instrumental track on the album which features a ticking clock at the beginning and the sound of the wind blowing. Acoustic guitars pluck alongside a bass in a very Scandivian folk themed tune.
My personal favourite track from the album is “Master Of The Land” which is a great heavy track that mixes tempos from fast tremolo picking to slow breakdowns. There is a nice harmonic riff where the guitar dual and the drums blast out the double over the top, this then leads into a very bluesy sounding solo. There is so much happening in this one track alone which sums up the sound that Grand Magus have created and been inspired by from so many classic bands from the 60s and 70s.
This is one of my favourite Grand Magus albums alongside The Hunt from 2012 in terms of the production and differences between the sound of the tracks that helps to separate them from sounding much the same. The drum sound is particularly important in this album and it’s very powerful in terms of it not just being a guitar driven album. Long time Grand Magus fans will really appreciate this latest album from the band and it’s definitely worth picking up the record through Nuclear Blast.
Written by David Bell
Ratings: David 8/10