Hammer Of The North review by Grand Magus

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  • Released: Jun 18, 2010
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7 Good
  • Users' score: 8.7 (14 votes)
Grand Magus: Hammer Of The North
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Sound — 7
Grand Magus signed to Roadrunner!? Oh man, the internet won't like this. It can't be denied that this record label has had suspicious effects on some of its new signings. Many criticisms levelled at their influence on the creative process seem well-founded, if a little exaggerated, but Grand Magus seem to have picked up all the marketing and distribution perks, all the while sidestepping the dwindling quality. Nice one! Cynics will always find a way to pick holes though, probably using the lack of doom as ammunition this time, conveniently forgetting that Grand Magus haven't really been a doom band since 2003's Monument'.

So, much like the excellent Iron Will', Hammer Of The North' is a heavy metal record; one with genuine nods to your Maidens and your Accepts without feeling like a retro novelty, la Cauldron. Real epic riffs', real pounding rhythms' and real...*shudder*...soaring vocals'. It's a shame that every single heavy metal album has been described in this sort of a way, seeing as Grand Magus are one of the few contemporary acts that can actually do it. Another important thing that sets this band apart from many other metal acts (and that goes for all its stylistic nooks and crannies) is that, rather than creating good strings of riffs, these guys really write songs. That's not to say verse-chorus rules, more that it's not just the usual intros and choruses that make each tune distinguishable from the next; it all makes perfect sense.

Lyrics — 8
I don't think it'd be exaggerating to say that a majority of Grand Magus' biggest and best moments have been so because of JB Christoffersson's vocals. Highlights like Bond Of Blood' wouldn't be highlights without his cracking melodies, that's for sure. As for lyrics, they match the quality throwback artwork with well-crafted words that should appeal to all the right leathers and denims. With a combination of musicality and balls to match the big names, these are rousing lyrics.

Overall Impression — 8
Watching the impressively shiny video for Hammer Of The North' (cheers, Warner!), there is something a little odd about the band's dynamic as a three piece beautiful wails like the one on I, The Jury' (that opens this album in gorgeous fashion) don't come from guitarist/vocalists, do they? They must come from monitor-mounting, fist-pumping frontmen, surely!? But that's JB, taking it upon himself to give the Grand Magus sound its two strongest elements, vocals and riffs, with apparent ease. Maybe having a trio that sounds like a beefy quartet, or even quintet, is just a small part of the fresh air that this band's breathing all over us. These are the sorts of solid, satisfying songs that we need more of. You may have read interviews where bands wonder why Iron Maiden and Judas Priest can pack out arenas while Grand Magus are lucky to play to 500 people; with any luck (and/or promotion cash), that will all change soon and these guys absolutely deserve to be leading the way.

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Vadrae21
    This band is True Heavy Metal at its finest, The wails and screams coming from JB are ****ing amazing!
    mr_metal121
    hmm, skeptical over the fact it's a roadrunner signed album, check it out nevertheless but the new "talent" RR have signed lately haven't been wowing me
    Echoplex
    mr_metal121 wrote: hmm, skeptical over the fact it's a roadrunner signed album, check it out nevertheless but the new "talent" RR have signed lately haven't been wowing me
    Yeah. It seems that RR have watered down the big tree of modern prog.
    EpiExplorer
    The bass is awesome and the vocalist is the sound that should be what all vocalists aspire to.
    Chozodragon
    heard about this band a while ago, but never checked it. I was wrong. This album is a great heavy metal record.
    Jacobrivers8
    these guys rock once again proving that you dont have to scream to play awesome metal
    McNuttynz
    Great Music, and from what i have heard it sounds like an amazing album too. Can't wait to get to the CD store to buy it xD. Great Review too.
    fumb duck
    Great, I've been really excited about this. I really hate Roadrunner though
    ChucklesMginty
    Metal-McTwist wrote: Hopefully, this band can bring the real heavy the mainstream. WOOT!
    Then people will complain that it's mainstream and real heavy metal has died. It's a losing battle.
    MetalOutlaw
    ChucklesMginty wrote: Metal-McTwist wrote: Hopefully, this band can bring the real heavy the mainstream. WOOT! Then people will complain that it's mainstream and real heavy metal has died. It's a losing battle.
    Iron Maiden are pretty mainstreem (they won a Brit award for goat's sake), and no one denies them being real metal. But then again, some people, when they see a band appear on tv or in a more "mainstreem" rock mag, then they accuse them of "selling out", despite that they still sound and look metal.
    mr_metal121
    Echoplex wrote: mr_metal121 wrote: hmm, skeptical over the fact it's a roadrunner signed album, check it out nevertheless but the new "talent" RR have signed lately haven't been wowing meYeah. It seems that RR have watered down the big tree of modern prog.
    glad I did check it out, this album is sick, if it was released 25-30 years ago it'd be a classic metal album, but even for modern metal this is sweet stuff