Review: Grand Magus The Fleece by Robin Askew 9/10
AS metal continues to diversify and splinter into myriad frequently preposterous sub-genres, a unifying act who take everything back to basics comes as a breath of fresh air.
Right now, Stockholm's Grand Magus are that band. Notably hairier and beardier than they were during their previous Bristol show, they look as though they've just stepped off the set of Game of Thrones – possibly for being too evil to survive more than a couple of scenes.
Remarkably, given that there are only three of them, Grand Magus succeed in conjuring up an enormous sound. It helps that guitarist Janne Christoffersson shares vocals with bassist Mats Skinner, but they could have had five musicians on stage and still not sound any bigger. And the advantage of eschewing a second guitarist is that the purity of their riff worship is never diluted. Highlights of a well-balanced, career-spanning set include an epic Ravens Guide Our Way and their best song, Like the Oar Strikes the Water, the latter being marred slightly by concluding with a less welcome metal tradition – the dreaded drum solo by new-ish drummer Ludwig Witt. Still, it really ought to be compulsory for all metal bands to follow Grand Magus's lead and have a song titled Valhalla Rising.
Absurdly catchy big dumb inspirational anthem Iron Will is a suitably rousing set closer, though it takes little coaxing for them to return for a sing-along Hammer of the North. And with that, these hardy Viking warriors depart to pillage the next town.
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