Grand Magus have spirited up a portal back to the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. Combining simple riffing with lungfuls of rich and hearty vocals, the Magus' cauldron has bubbled away until nine pieces of magic have erupted over the brim.
The band employed Nico Elgstrand to help them capture an authentic sound with great success. JB's vocals are rich and break up nicely as he reaches for that extra bit of magic. There are discerning splashes of influence spread across the album as he howls, barks and growls for that rare touch of extra aggression.
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His Swedish heritage accounts for the occasionally slightly American tone which fits very comfortably over sections reminiscent of bands like Wasp and Dio. Musically there are shades of Iron Maiden with triplets and deceptively simple arrangements and all the while choosing the more rock side of the NWOBHM movement for a Saxonesque feel.
With such a diverse range of influences it's clear to see that while Grand Magus fit comfortably into the sound of an era, with 'The Hunt' they are making a statement about being their own band with their own sound and part of the current rich tapestry of Metal.
The stand out track is 'Valhalla Rising'. The chorus has a simple melody that seems organic and obvious but proves difficult to sing alone and easy to sing along to. It's the kind of song you find yourself happy to be humming.
As a whole the album offers a good range of variation in feel and tempo as it races to what feels like a premature conclusion.
The studio provides opportunities for backing tracks and harmonies and the band use them tastefully through the album. They have taken great care to write good songs that will stand up to live performance as a three piece.
Grand Magus have conjured up another solid blast of foot tapping Metal that I'm sure will satisfy their hordes of fans while recruiting new followers.