Rating:
9.0
Grand Magus - Iron Will
13 June 2008


01. Like The Oar Strikes The Water
02. Fear Is The Key
03. Hövding
04. Iron Will
05. Silver Into Steel
06. The Shadow Knows
07. Self Deceiver
08. Beyond Good And Evil
09. I Am The North


More people should really know about Grand Magus. The Swedish trio started off as a doom act and, while they were good then, has evolved into a different beast of the traditional heavy metal variety. Iron Will is the group's fourth studio release and it was the first that featured their evolution completed after noticeably moving in a new direction with their previous release, 2005's Wolf's Return. I'll be honest and say that Iron Will is the record that caused me to sit up and take notice of this band and, after listening to this album more than I would care to mention, I checked out the other releases in their catalogue.

The sound of Iron Will is that of pure steel traditional metal, featuring mid-to-fast paced songs with highly catchy choruses, nimble bass work, and ballsy drumming, such as opener "Like the Oar Strikes the Water," the title track, and "Silver Into Steel." The third track, "Hövding," is a very brief bass instrumental that took me a while to understand why it was included, but now I see it as a nice precursor to the title track. Every single one of these songs feature riffs that immediately stick in your head, no matter where you are or what you are doing when you hear them. It seems that the band channeled all of their previous doom antics in the song "Self Deceiver," which features thunder sound effects, ghostly backing vocals and a startlingly sluggish riff when compared to the rest of the album. Vocalist/Guitarist JB Christoffersson is the man of the match here, busting out strong riffs and highly melodic solos like it is easy. His voice is a bit different for this type of music, but he musters strong emotion and sounds like he is behind every song 100%. If you don't believe me, just listen to "Fear is the Key." Perhaps to spice things up, he chooses to use a fair amount of vocal effects, especially during the last half of the album. Normally I like singers to present their vocals clearly, which Christoffersson does most of the time, but it is smartly used here and doesn't bother me at all. Bassist Fox Skinner is very noticeable on this record, due not only to his bass interludes but also to a thick sound that he has since stuck with. Drummer Seb Sippola provides the backbone by supplying interestingly simple beats. I love how he doesn't try to do much and gets in the pocket behind those massive riffs. There is chemistry in this band that you can only get out of a trio.

I strongly recommend getting this album. If you are a traditional heavy metal fan that enjoys songs about strength and paganism, portrayed by melodic riffing and emotional vocals, Iron Will is a must listen.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Grand Magus
Album: Iron Will


 


written by Papa_Ray | 06.09.2010


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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Jan - 07.09.2010 at 22:15  
Good review I agree - this album is criminally overlooked
Ag Fox - 08.09.2010 at 17:57  
Ah yes, I liked "Iron Will", but I personally found "Hammer Of The North" a stronger album. It may not have as much choruses as Iron Will, but it has more long term replay value for me and the riffs are better
Papa_Ray - 08.09.2010 at 21:14  
Written by Ag Fox on 08.09.2010 at 17:57

Ah yes, I liked "Iron Will", but I personally found "Hammer Of The North" a stronger album. It may not have as much choruses as Iron Will, but it has more long term replay value for me and the riffs are better


Hammer of the North is indeed a great album. I am extremely pleased with it.
Marcel Hubregtse - 09.09.2010 at 12:41  
I found Hammer Of The North quite disappointing. It sounds way to polished and slick. Sahg - III is the album that Grand Magus should have made instead of Hammer Of The North.
vezzy - 09.09.2010 at 13:22  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 09.09.2010 at 12:41

I found Hammer Of The North quite disappointing. It sounds way to polished and slick. Sahg - III is the album that Grand Magus should have made instead of Hammer Of The North.


Don't know if it should have, but III is an awesome album indeed.
!J.O.O.E.! - 09.09.2010 at 13:27  
Written by vezzy on 09.09.2010 at 13:22

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 09.09.2010 at 12:41

I found Hammer Of The North quite disappointing. It sounds way to polished and slick. Sahg - III is the album that Grand Magus should have made instead of Hammer Of The North.


Don't know if it should have, but III is an awesome album indeed.

I'd take the new Grand Magus over the new Sahg. Neither were particularly spectacular but GM was a slightly more interesting.
Vikingr - 27.12.2010 at 09:45  
Great album

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