|Review: Grand Magus - Wolf God|
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2019
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: April 25, 2019
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Rated 3.78/5 (75.56%) (9 Votes)
Completing 20 years of activity in 2019, Grand Magus have their ninth studio album in Wolf God, a return of sorts to their early days. The atmospheric/epic heavy parts are still prominent here—a feature added in the early-2010's with albums like Hammer of the North (2010) and The Hunt (2012)—but there is a stronger sense of rawness and straightforward playing, like in the cadenced "Brother of the Storm", follow-up "Dawn of Fire" and in the final portion of the record with "Untamed."
The album doesn't actually start very well, with a cliché intro and the title track being anything but full of energy, and with "A Hall Clad in Gold" providing good but forgettable moments. It's only when the aforementioned "Dawn of Fire" kicks in that JB Christoffersson and company show why they are Nuclear Blast's "go-to" heavy/doom band. The peaceful start to the track paves the way to some of the most sexy riffs and better instrumental performances of the effort, which gets better from then on.
There are some minor Judas-esque influences by the time "Glory to the Brave" starts, for example, especially in the riff department, but this is where the epic aura is stronger. Grand Magus can easily shift between the straightforward and the epic, and this track is the perfect example of it. There are also strong stoner elements here, which makes for an interesting mix, even though it's one I'm not too keen on.
Essentially, Wolf God is a mix between Grand Magus' old and new elements. It's a step up from the good Sword Songs (2016), as the Swedes bet more on the crunchy riffs and doom elements rather than forcing an epic, more pompous aura every chance they get. Recommended.
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