Sunday, November 20, 2011

Best of 2011 Volume 2 - Grand Magus - Hammer of the North


From: Sweden
Year: 2011
Genre: Heavy Metal

Not sure how well this album is gonna go over on this blog but whatever cus in my opinion this is one of the best traditional metal albums to come out in years. And even though it was released in Europe in 2010, it didn’t see a U.S. release until this year. Grand Magus originally started as a doom band but have slowly been transforming into a pure heavy metal machine and with their latest album the transformation is undoubtedly complete. In the tradition of the great Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap, everything on this album has been cranked up to 11. JB Christoffersson, also of stoner legends Spiritual Beggars, has taken his vocals and guitar playing to the next level. His voice is so forceful on this album that it sounds like he was holding back on previous recordings and, along with the vocal hooks, the riffs are incredibly catchy not to mention crisp and HEAVY. The tone in the guitar solos is reminiscent of David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, but the stoner guitar tones in the riffs are gone, the sound is pure metal crunch. The vocal melodies will have you singing along and praising Valhalla while the galloping rhythms will have you storming onto the battlefield, bloody war axe in hand, ready to fight for the fatherland. If the riffs don’t inspire a warzone at their concerts then the metal scene is in bad shape. The production is appropriately powerful as well, adding to the overall epic feeling of vast mountainous landscapes and war torn countrside. If you grew up loving traditional metal like Maiden, Priest and Dio, like I did, then you are going to love this. They took the traditional metal sound and modernized it, making it heavier and arguably every bit as memorable. Buy it here.


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