GRAND MAGUS - Wolf God
April 26, 2019, 23 days ago
Cello and minimalist pizzicato orchestral strings characterize the introductory “Gold And Glory” instrumental. Not a single booming doom note. Thought I was listening to an adaptation of Sergei Prokofiev's Peter And The Wolf. Fear not, as soon as title track kicks in, complete with JB's bestial howl, it's the same Swedish trio who has issued eight other discs we love. An early standout, the punishing, drum/guitar driven “A Hall Clad In Gold” becomes tuneful, around the chorus.
Lapping waves (a similar effect to that used, to greater heights, on “Like The Oar Strikes The Water”, back in '08) greet and end “Dawn Of Fire”. “Spear Thrower” picks up the pace, recognizable as Grand Magus, but leaving the laidback vibe behind. “To Live And Die In Solitude” rides a wicked riff, something akin to countrymen/downtrodden masters Candlemass might uncover. High praise indeed. It ends abruptly and slides seamlessly into a jazzy, drumsticks on wooden block section prior to a full-blown “Glory To The Brave”. The most ambitious composition, after the aforementioned start, it meanders for a while, then (midway through) unleashes a spirited guitar run, before ending as a nearly a cappella call & response segment, with the titular phrase. Once again opting for a slightly more traditional metal structure, “He Sends Them All To Hel” (single L Norse underworld). Ditto, the rapid paced headbanging verses of “Untamed”, juxtaposed with laborious chorus. Now let's get these guys on North American shores!