Rating:
7.6
Grand Magus - Triumph And Power
31 January 2014


01. On Hooves Of Gold
02. Steel Versus Steel
03. Fight
04. Triumph And Power
05. Dominator
06. Arv
07. Holmgång
08. The Naked And The Dead
09. Ymer
10. The Hammer Will Bite
11. Blackmoon [bonus]


With Triumph and Power Grand Magus offer us their heavy metal heart and soul.

Honesty and integrity define this band. You simply can't fault their resolve, their determination and their drive. In times where it seems like good old heavy metal can't get a word in edgewise among the latest "hot topics," Grand Magus are an example of a band that stand firm, not letting it get to them, and they continue honing the sound which is true to them, which is what they enjoy playing and which, of course, fans enjoy hearing.

Each new addition to their discography is testament to that undying motive and the tenable inner strength of their style. They are among the most resilient of heavy metal bands and to suggest that they aren't a major player in keeping heavy metal alive is nonsensical and delusional.

But onto the music now; this isn't their best album to date but there's no doubting its dependable consistency. The doom aspect to the sound, which has always given them character, is less emphasised here in preference for a focus on vocal arrangement, which for all intents and purposes may make the instrumentation comparatively less interesting, in relation to album's like their most engaging Iron Will, where the riffs found their creative peak. It's a good thing then that JB is one of the finest vocalists in the business. While the guitar work is fairly standard fare by Grand Magus standards, such standards never waver and are what makes this band so consistent.

The production is clearer and not as pillowy as The Hunt, allowing all instruments and vocals to push through the mix with fuller force, though it still buries the punch and a certain "grit" to the guitar tone that really gave albums like Iron Will their edge.

There are some creative instrumental variances that fit the album's strong thematic focus, such as the introductory guitar line of "Fight", which seems to call out like a war horn and beckons the oncoming slew of riff. Most interesting though is the Scandinavian folk touch, best managed in the interludes "Arv" and "Ymer"; some pieces of home heritage to aid in getting their point across.

Triumph and Power's dynamics depend mostly on JB's vocal performance and the chorus oriented approach is straddled atop the expected hard riding and galloping rhythms of varied pacing. Simply put, JB is having the time of his life on this record. He digs deep and he soars high in the title track and he revels after the choir and among the backing vocals of "Holmgång."

The viking themes and imagery, which were always underlying their hooky heaviness, are here fully tapped and clearly expressed; their heart laid bare, so to speak. This is the kind of album that renews one's enthusiasm for a band's music in general; not only do we manage to catch a glimpse of their own enthusiasm, but such is made abundantly clear in the thematic strength which was always hinted at beneath their vigorous tunes and their continually resolute studio performances, of which this new album is no exception.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Band profile: Grand Magus
Album: Triumph And Power


 



Written on 14.01.2014 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
More reviews by R'Vannith ››



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R Lewis - 14.01.2014 at 10:17  
Oh God, two years have already passed since The Hunt. Time flies.
Great review, btw. Will give this a few spins, since this is the kind of band that rarely disappoints.
Infernal Eternal - 26.01.2014 at 13:48  
A band with a high standard. I would give this album an 8,7.

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