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Grand Magus : Grand Magus

Those lucky few that have heard Grand Magus are raving about it. Evidently this includes noted doomster Lee Dorrian, who signed them up to his Rise Above label in the UK in early 2001. As the years have proven, Lee has an ear for quality, from the now-obscure Mourn to the better-known Electric Wizard. Produced by Fred Estby (Entombed, Hellacopters) in Stockholm, Grand Magus has indeed constructed a formidable 'Mountain of Power'. But is it doom?

Well, yes and no. To die-hard fans of funeral doom such as Thergothon or Evoken, the answer is no. To fans of the afore-mentioned Rise Above artists, or lovers of the Maryland old school, the answer is a little trickier. To these ears, Grand Magus is first a hard slammin' heavy blues band, with the emphasis on heavy. Songs such as 'Legion' boogie along in a hard blues groove, reminiscent of such bands as Sweden's Halfman. Other tunes show a strong ZZ Top flavor mixed in with the classic sounds of 70s heavies such as Mountain and Deep Purple. And do I hear a little Zakk Wylde influence here and there? Hmmm, maybe.. Doomsters will be happiest with songs such as 'Wheel of Time,' which transposes an old-school doom guitar sound on a slow blues stomp, and 'Lodbrok' which is doomy hardrock with lyrics about axes and swords.

The class of musicianship on 'Grand Magus' is second to none. Vocalist Janne has a convincingly strong blues growl, and his fingers dance over the frets on his too-infrequent guitar solos. Bassist Foxy and Trisse on drums are rock-solid and heavy as hell-this is a recording you feel in your back molars. The word is that Janne is moonlighting as the singer in Spiritual Beggars for the now-departed Spice, which he is suited for in both appearance and style. If you're into the 'Beggars, or classic doom or heavy blues, you will find your attention well repaid by scoring a copy of 'Grand Magus'.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Gauntlet
2. Legion
3. Never Learned
4. Black Hound of Vengeance
5. Coat of Arms
6. Generator
7. Wheel of Time
8. Lodbrok
9. Black Hole
10. Mountain of Power

Duration : Approx. 47 minutes

Visit the Grand Magus bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Kevin McHugh
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