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Album Review: Grand Magus - Wolf God

15 April 2019 | 10:05 am | Brendan Crabb

"Packed with riffs best enjoyed at neighbour-bothering volume."

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Proponents of the pagan pantheon, Grand Magus, return with their ninth record, Wolf God. The Swedes' previous release, 2016's Sword Songs, was met with widespread appreciation, and seeing little need to deviate from a successful template, mammoth-sized, battle-ready tunes abound again here.

The trio's conviction at times compensates for the lack of genuine surprises or innovation. Wolf God is packed with riffs best enjoyed at neighbour-bothering volume, coupled with a chaser of melody. After intro Gold & Glory sets the pace, the title track's distinctive guitar tone and that hefty groove signal a fist-pumping sound that's truly theirs. A howling wolf further rams home their message. Brother Of The Storm bristles with a classic Magus riff, while Dawn Of Fire features an infectious, call-to-arms chorus.

The LP is respectful of heavy metal's past, with blues, classic rock and doom-y touches seeping in. Spear Thrower fuses traditional metal sensibilities and a faster tempo with a fleet-fingered solo, not to mention vocal hooks so catchy they could cause a viral outbreak. Meanwhile, Glory To The Brave's Sabbath-influenced riffing hits the spot, and the urgent Untamed's frantic guitars, pounding drums and anthemic tendencies ensure it'll be right at home at the European summer festivals that are the group's bread and butter.

Inspired by the likes of Manowar and Judas Priest, these defenders of the faith are proudly carrying the true heavy metal torch into the future.