Grand Magus
The Hunt

What’s swollen with Swedish pride, rife with heathenism and unabashedly oozing with heavy metal thunder?  Grand Magus‘ newest release, of course.  Sixth full-length The Hunt is a smorgasbord of fine riffs and rhythms that’s certain to please ears the world over.  So it may not be as doomy (okay, there’s really no comparison) as earlier releases; so what?  The Hunt stands on its obviously musclebound legs quite firmly.

Let’s address this doom issue for a minute before leaving it and never returning (probably).  Though Grand Magus are widely known for starting out their career in a doomier frame of mind, that direction has shifted over the course of the past few albums, and The Hunt is their most straightforward traditional album to date.  You gonna be okay with that?  Trust me…it’s good, and the lack of doom is made up for in other ways.

Grand Magus are clearly adept at writing albums.  It’s my guess that no matter which route they took musically, the ultimate outcome would always be good and would always retain the Grand Magus vibe.  So it’s no surprise that The Hunt, while branching off into more traditional territory, remains true to GM ideals.  The songs are hefty without cheese, with solid structure and just a touch of mysticism.  Ones to check out include opener “Starlight Slaughter,” the tune that instantly showcases The Hunt‘s classic vibe, with powerful riffs and a killer chorus featuring the true intensity of JB Christoffersson’s vocals.  “Valhalla Rising” is a chugger from start to finish (again with an awesomely memorable chorus), and “Silver Moon” comes through in true classic rock fashion with more of those monolithic riffs and a laid-back feel overall.

Another track worth mentioning that’s different from the rest is “Son of the Last Breath,” an expertly composed folk tune featuring acoustic guitars and violins.  The lightness of the tune when compared to warmth and heaviness of the vocals reminds of a cold winter day (in a good way).  The tune revs back up to Grand Magus speed and heaviness around the halfway point, with the two sections tying together flawlessly.

So, the verdict is that The Hunt is killer regardless of its genre tags.  Finding an album as solid as this one is no easy task these days, but most familiar with Grand Magus have come to expect that from them.  And you see, although change is inevitable, it doesn’t have to be painful.  Grand Magus have proven this.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jodi Van Walleghem
August 27th, 2012


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