|Review: Grand Magus - Monument|
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2010
Originally released in: 2003
Genre: Doom Metal
Review online: October 6, 2010
Reviewed by: Adam Kohrman
Rated 3.69/5 (73.85%) (13 Votes)
Grand Magus have become one of heavy metal's juggernauts. Iron Will took the metal world by storm a few years ago, with its mix of doom and traditional metal laced with 90s alternative rock. While many fans have voiced disappointment with the follow up, Hammer of the North, there's plenty to look back on. Here, on their second release, you can hear the mammoth sound of their later works in its formative years. As they moved farther away from the rather simplistic stoner rock of their self-titled debut, energetic old school metal fronted by the wailing snarl of JB Christofferson bubbled under their foundation.
This is still predominantly doom metal. Grand Magus' trademark downtuned blues-driven riffs dominate each song, plodding along like an animal caught in mud, but usually in an inspired way. Obvious here is that Grand Magus are delving into deeper territory, with broader solo sections and different tempos. But on songs like "Baptized in Blood," their stoner roots shine forth. They incorporate that down-tempo, riffy groove into anthemic metal forcefulness when at their best. "Food of the Gods" is a shining example of this combination: it has the gritty, Southern vibe of their early years, but right from the opening solo, it spits at you with dynamic rebelliousness. The experimentation is commendable (and it led to the band becoming a metal powerhouse), but they hadn't perfected the sound yet. The meandering epic "He Who Seeks...Shall Find" feels inchoate and lacking, and closes the album on a dull, lackluster note. All in all, Grand Magus just weren't there yet.
This album is a solid piece of a band's history, far from the quality of their deservedly heralded works, but a necessary stepping stone in their formation.
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