By: TJ FOWLER
Available: May 12th, 2016
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Whoa! Talk about a kick in the ass ‘Sword Songs’ is! Grand Magus’ new album really delivers a package of metal music that is fresh, vigorous and fist pumping in a way that is a step above their previous album, ‘Triumph and Power’. For me, a new fan of Grand Magus who just got into the band with their last album, ‘Sword Songs’ in my opinion not only builds on the strengths of ‘Triumph and Power’ but addresses a few of the weaknesses I thought that album had as well.
Grand Magus is a band that is what I like to call a hybrid doom band. Their singer/guitarist JP, has a voice that would be well suited in a lot of doom bands but the style of the music is a bit faster paced, though tonally similar, than many doom bands. On, ‘Triumph and Power’ Grand Magus combined the strong points of doom and mixed it in with their own unique style, however on ‘Triumph and Power’ there were several songs that seemed to really drag on too long and would lose my interest. However, on ‘Sword Songs’ the band kept the strong points they implemented on ‘Triumph and Power’ while keeping all the songs engaging and fun to listen to. Not only that, Grand Magus even stepped their game up and made their strong points even stronger on this album.
First, the band has really hit their stride as song writers and have crafted some really catchy, riff crunchy and anthem themed tunes on ‘Sword Songs’. With songs like, Freja’s Choice and Varangian the band have really let loose and pushed the gas pedal to the floor and really let their aggressive sides show both musically and a lyircally. Then there are songs like Forged in Iron and my favorite Born for Battle that really get your blood pumping and ready to take on the world. I can really see these songs being great live. Born for Battle needs to be in some kind of movie, video game or played at a sporting event to get people ready to fight. The song is in every way a true anthem. While ‘Sword Songs’ does have some slower tunes as well they manage to keep my interest more than the ones on ‘Triumph and Power’ and that can only be a good thing as I am not always a slow song kind of guy.
Most importantly, the band seems to have a certain type of energy on this album that I didn’t notice on their previous effort or even from other bands for that matter. What I like to call an X-Factor. The band just really seems to be having fun and just work so well together that it really shows on this album in how the songs come across to the listener. That is something that only comes organically and naturally to bands and can’t be manufactured no matter how hard record labels sometimes try and Grand Magus has it in spades on this album.
All of these things mixed together with great lyrical themes, a nice beefy and warm production and a kick ass metal attitude makes ‘Sword Songs’ a must buy for every kind of metal fan out there. Period.
One of the best albums of 2016.