For those unfamiliar with the band, Stockholm's Grand Magus are one of Sweden's finest purveyors of so-called 'traditional' heavy metal (that's metal without the the corpse paint and screaming, as so many of their Scandinavian cousins tend towards). Having started off back in 2001, Grand Magus originally had more of a doom metal ethic, which, now somewhat watered down, is still there in its essence, but these days giving way to shorter songs and a more mid-paced tempo. This latest release, 'Wolf God', follows up 2016's slice of prime sing-along heavy metal, 'Swords Songs'. Having a fairly consistent back catalogue and not really one for straying from the 'true path', can we expect more of the same from Grand Magus?
After the short intro track, 'Wolf God' stomps onto the scene to mark Grand Magus's territory and remind all challengers who the alpha is here. This is fist-pumping heavy metal with a streak of viking steel running right through its core, and Grand Magus have been perfecting it over many years now, so it's no surprise to see them back on top form.
The third track keeps up the form with 'A Hall Clad in Gold', a belting slab of viking themed metal that'll have the drinking horns raised up and everyone in the mead benches swaying along and air guitaring away with mile-wide grins on their faces. If Valhalla had a DJ, he'd probably be spinning this at least once a week.
'Brother of the Storm' provides a raucous battle anthem, clashing swords and thunderous riffs, with a catchy sing-along chorus. Viking doom metal as it's best.
'Spear Thrower' provides a bellicose song fit for the hall of the one-eyed war god himself, galloping past in just under three minutes like Odin's legendary horse, Sleipnir.
'To Live and Die in Solitude' is one to get the heads banging, like a fireside tale of revenge and war but with electric guitars. This is classic Grand Magus.
Penultimate track 'He Sent Them All to Hel' is pure heavy metal joy, a viking victory song to celebrate enemies crushed and skulls presumably soon to be drunk from.
A little grey around the mane they may be after almost twenty years in the fight, but definitely not de-toothed or de-clawed. The wolf bites back, and this is one juicy offering you'll want to sink your teeth into for sure.