Grand Magus - Grand Magus
Rise Above
Traditional Doom/Blues/Heavy Metal
10 songs (47:07)
Release year: 2001
Grand Magus, Rise Above
Reviewed by Thomas
Archive review

Grand Magus has gone through the motions over the years, and every album showed a distinct removal from the previous one. Starting out with this, a plain, traditional doom album flirting quite heavily with stoner and even blues, they went on to become one of the most anticipated heavy metal bands out there. 2008 gave us the fantastic Iron Will which doesn't sound anything like their self-titled debut. This is through and through bluesy Black Sabbath-worship, and the bearded Swedes does a pretty great job at it. You'll get everything from slow, crunching tunes to more up-tempo stuff more in the vein of simplistic and early heavy metal. Heavy riffs played on heavily down-tuned guitars, is bound to sound good, and will give you that warm and fuzzy feeling you'll otherwise turn to older heroes to find. Grand Magus is deliberate to the core, and the goals JB and the guys set out to achieve with this was reached with ease. Metal has tried just about everything since the mid-70s, and what is better when it gets so experimental it's downright boring than to insert something like this into your stereo, lean back and let Grand Magus drench you with simplistic, old-school, not particularly re-inventive, heavy, crushing and entertaining doom? Nothing? Didn't think so.

Even though this album is pretty slow and pretty sluggish all the way through, it actually starts out with two sparkling tracks where especially Legion stands out as the winner. Gauntlet is great as well, but the inspiring Legion is packed with very cool riffs, bluesy solos and emotive deep vocals that resembles a more powerful Chris Cornell. Never strolling of the path they set out on, Grand Magus provides buckets of quality with every tune here, and though one would think that variation is absent, it isn't as every song takes a different approach without leaving the obvious canvas they've chosen to throw some blackened paint on. The groovy beats of Fredrik Liefvendahl combined with the crooked, rough riffing of JB and Fox's steady, slack bassing completes the less-is-more approach of the entire disc, and songs like Coat of Arms the blues-doom combination Generator and the simply exemplary Lordbrok stands out as absolute highlights along with the two livelier openers.

Doom-enthusiasts seems to have a slight problem with the vocals of JB, which I don't really understand. I think he fits the bill even if he's not as nasal as Ozzy or as rough as Dio. His rumbling vocals are great, and adds to the overall deep pit-like atmosphere. I Recommend this for fans of newer Grand Magus as well as traditional doom and heavy metal in general. This is great stuff that should be played loudly. The main adjectives would be simplistic, heavy, crunching, and entertaining. I'll add as a heads-up that the guys will release Hammer of the North in May. An album that most certainly will notch a top spot on my list.

Killing Songs :
Thomas quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Grand Magus that we have reviewed:
Grand Magus - Wolf God reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Grand Magus - Sword Songs reviewed by Goat and quoted 65 / 100
Grand Magus - Triumph and Power reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Grand Magus - The Hunt reviewed by Thomas and quoted 50 / 100
Grand Magus - Hammer of the North reviewed by Thomas and quoted 89 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 6 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:57 am
View and Post comments