- On Hooves of Gold
- Steel Versus Steel
- Triumph And Power
- The Naked And the Dead
- The Hammer Will Bite
Release Date: 31 January 2014 – Nuclear Blast
Nowadays there are bands that are parts of various cliques and there are Grand Magus. The Swedish band is a category on its own and every new release makes your day, your year and makes your thoughts be more optimistic. They are not trying to experiment with their music nor is this something as needed. “Triumph And Power” cannot be an exception, cannot be a minor sin in their discography.
Keep going from where “The Hunt” ended, “Triumph And Power” is anthemic, addictive, ultra heavy and passionate as well. For one more album the guiders are ravens painting in the sky the initials of albums from ’70s Judas Priest and ancient Manowar (strictly first 3 albums). From the beginning till the ending the album gallops without stopping and the gentle moments of “Arv” and “Ymer” are the sound of the wind among the trees during the epic storm. Who heard “Steel Versus Steel” and didn’t start posing with an air-guitar till kneeling on the ground? How many times will you need to learn every single word from “Triumph And Power”? Inner strength in “Fight” and “Dominator” and rock n’ roll attitude in “The Naked And the Dead”.
The trio of this band does great things, composes an epicness like which a common one has years to be shown up. And if the whole album is able to make you leave your house and face reality with a smile, the ending “The Hammer Will Bite” with its British Steel vein shall addict you keeping this smile for months. No fillers, no excuses, just pure heavy/epic metal from three musicians who honor the past, are thirsty for the future and the most important live in the present!
Review by Dr.Feelgood
- At the Ghost Gate
- We Were Not Alone
- In Time
- Black Easter
- Ageless Rites
- Our Roads Must Never Cross
Release Date 25 April 2014 – Metal Blade
“A Shot in the Dark”
Almost every day we see new bands rising from the unknown, whether they have a personal sound from their early days or not. As I have mentioned many times it’s not what you play, but the way you do it. For me Portrait are winners. They were from the first bands presented their love for Mercyful Fate. In “Crimen…” they were very fast, sharp and black and in their new album “Crossroads” go on with their personal darkness and are more anthemical (check “We Were Not Alone”) and even less followers of the Fate sound.
Yeah, “Crossroads” is as dark and black as “Crimen…”, but the sacrifice of speed in order to incorporate refrains doesn’t hold it back. On the other hand makes it more open and a classic piece of heaviness. Think that Mercyful Fate are sounded as less as the precocious Iron Maiden and Judas Priest appear to erupt the songs. Also the way the album is sounded, helps even more Per to show to those calling him as a clone of King Diamond, that he has an ability to use his voice anyhow. Listen to his narrative and at the same time “theatrical” performance in “Our Roads Must Never Cross” or his inevitability in “Black Easter”. By the way this song could easily be the different one if my thinking reference of it’s characteristic Rush rhythm is true.
Of course, Per proves for one more time why he is the ideal singer for this band through his high and thrilled performances in “At the Ghost Gate” and “Ageless Rites”. Aside him those riffs and leads that never stop. Behind every riff are hiding several leads and this is one of the trademarks for Portrait. But guys, when it comes this EPIC “Lily” time stops. Its acoustic intro takes your memories back in the middle ’70s (“Last Rose of Summer” and others…) and then… a galloping riffing that could never end. And after, a dazzling finale with that a la Halford scream and the acoustic melody ending as “Liberation” begun (if I’m right for one more time, the intro song could easily pay tribute to the solo album of Jim Matheos “Away with Words”).
If for the most of you In Solitude are heroes because they tried something successfully different, then Portrait with this album make me a warmer follower of them. And I’m sure that Cristian Lindell and David Olofsson can keep riffing on that way and sharing with us their heavy darkness rising from the graves of Kristianstad. Please, guys keep sounding with that combat production.
Review by Dr.Feelgood
Swedish heavy band Portrait will release their new album “Crossroads” on the 25th of April via Metal Blade. Also the band has shared a new song called “In Time” and can listen to it in the following link, where you can order your copies as well: http://www.metalblade.com/portrait/
The band has stated on the album: “Crossroads’ is a sevenfold blessing and curse upon a dying music scene, an album imbued with something untouchable and yet undeniable. This first single ‘In Time’ was the first song written for ‘Crossroads’ and is one of the more straight-forward ones of the album. Bang or be banged! ” Also, the guitar player, Christian Lindell has stated too: “This is our most important album up to date in so many ways, and we couldn’t be more satisfied with the final outcome. To me personally, PORTRAIThas finally become what I have always wanted the band to be, and we are hungrier than ever. The new album will speak for itself, and the year 2014 will be a year of Truth and of Conquest. Beware!”
2. At the Ghost Gate
3. We were not alone
4. In Time
5. Black Easter
6. Ageless Rites
7. Our Roads Must Never Cross
The Swedish band Grand Magus has announced that their new album will be entitled “Triumph and Power” and will be released on January 31, 2014 via Nuclear Blast.
The band stated on the album: “Triumph And Power has been completed. It’s a metal triumph of Viking power! Once again we worked with Nico Elgstrand as producer, a tradition that started with Hammer Of The North back in 2010. This is our strongest album yet. It has the northern feel. It has the power and the melody that has become our mark of excellence. Fans of true metal will take this album to their hearts. To top everything off, we have the striking and epic artwork of Anthony Roberts. The album cover perfectly captures the work on this album and GRAND MAGUS as a band. Stay true!”
1. On Hooves of Gold
2. Steel Versus Steel
4. Triumph and Power
8. The Naked and the Dead
10. The Hammer Will Bite
- Wise as a Serpent
- Turn the Tide
- Sweet Magic Pain
- Hello Sorrow
- One Man’s Curse
- Too Old to Die Young
- Road to Madness
- Ead End Town
- Freedom Song
- Legends Collapse
Release Date: 15 April 2013 – InsideOut Music
“The Right Way to Shine”
A new Spiritual Beggars album could mean two things. An equivalent continuity to “Return to Zero” or a return to a form of sound that the old fans would kill for. So, it’s not wrong to give to “Earth Blues” the description of back to the roots.
From the songs to the production the album sounds as it should be and on the way the members chose it. Even Apollo Papathanasio sings on a way to give the right tone, has a different performance from the posh one of the previous album. He tries something making his voice reaching its limits and in some songs it’s lovely (as in “Hello Sorrow”, “Road to Madness”, “Freedom Song”) while in some parts he sounds not as lively as would like him. But, as it is known for every performer, the stage is the place where showing the real image of the voice.
As every SB album has the songs that make the fans listening to and singing them all the time, the same thing is happening here. From the Hendrix inspired riffing of “Turn the Tide” to the melodic lines of “Hello Sorrow”, where Michael Amott proves again that Michael Schenker has led him to create some of the most remarkable melodies in his music. Moreover in the cover SB did in “Dreamer” (Bobby Bland’s song”) Michael plays a solo that leaves a personal sign and simultaneously Per Wiberg makes the song heard like belonging to the band. If you are a huge supporter of Per’s playing then be sure that “Kingmaker” will be one of your favorite songs. It carries an atmosphere of Deep Purple and Urian Heep.
All the guitar parts, the keyboard parts and the drumming parts are great with no fillers; sharing to the human mind the real heavy rock sound of the first three albums that can make any one of you at anytime wiggling your body, while you are already in the rhythm. And the song that will lead you to the prime time of your dancing is “Too Old to Die Young”. The song that easily is in the top 5 ones in the history of SB. Its riffing, the creamy middle of it and the spurt in the end are a side of perfection. After that you don’t have to ask anything from Michael Amott and his band. Just try to catch them anywhere near by you.
Review by Dr.Feelgood
- Per Aspera Ad Inferi
- Secular Haze
- Jigolo Har Megiddo
- Ghuleh/Zombie Queen
- Year Zero
- Body and Blood
- Depth of Satan’s Eyes
- Monstrance Clock
Release Date: 9 April 2013 – Loma Vista Recordings
“Catholicus Hereticus Diabolicus”
In the old times the biggest enemy of the Orthodox Church was heresis. Heretics used to maintain their theories upon religion and in order to fight Church, they used their spiritual weapons such as hymns. Hearing the music of “Infestissumam” reminded me of that movement from heretics. Ghost custom their music with elements of Catholic Church with the use of an organ and the polyphonic parts.
If you were expecting a surprise album from the Sweden just like their debut “Opus Eponymous”, I guess you got it wrong like me. But this doesn’t mean that we cannot recognize it as a great album. It differs from the debut on the sound. It’s not as heavy as the previous, it’s based more on a light rock/pop sound of the past where we meet the gravity of Beatles with the happiness of ABBA and the rock attitude of BOC. They keep using Latin phrases or names as it is heard in two of the most addictive songs “Per Aspera, Ad Inferi” and “Year Zero”.
It seems that Ghost will grow the art of progressing an idea into a song that varies from parts. Who could expect “Ghuleh/Zombie Queen” whose intro on piano brings in mind both the artistic side of Queen and the peaceful playing of John Lennon. Beautiful melodies that are being followed by eruptions. Of course there are and the heavy songs like “Secular Haze” and “Depth of Satan’s Eyes”, where guitars present their lead role.
The vocals of Papa Emeritus II (as he has renamed himself) sound more snappy and mature. This album is really nice and as a record cannot come out from my mind or yours, I suppose, as we could expect. But the future of Ghost and their ability on preaching Satan’s words will be judged by their next record step. We wait…
Review by Dr.Feelgood
- The Rebel
- Atilla the Hun
- Let the Show Go on
- Seal of the Cross
- Promised Land
- Settle the Score
- Black Friar
- World out of Steel
- Metal Knights
- Sun God 1
Release Date: 1 February 2013 – Mausoleum Records
“Steel Meets Steel”
Finally, after a long time I hear a new album from a Swedish band that has nothing to do with all those bands coming from that land and being known for their love in traditional sound or occultism. Raven Lord not only play heavy metal with having nothing from the previous clues, but also they incorporate some modern clues; of course where it is needed without exaggerations.
If you have missed the sound and the passion of the first two solo albums from Rob Halford, then I think that your love will rise again. Also inset to this, that Csaba Zvekan has a hoarse voice and sometimes his vocals have common tones to that one of Rob. He screams good as well, but there are times where he tries to raise his voice while this is not so necessary and may this lead the listener to avoid some songs. This is not a bad side, on the other hand do not forget that we have to do with a debut; that means that there a lot of chances for him to touch a perfect level in the future.
Besides the vocals, the main characteristic of the album and the band in general is the two guitarists who do a magnificent work. Heavy as both can be and they do not hesitate to add some modern bulk into their sound. I won’t hide you that this reminds me somehow of Symphony X. Songs for a lot of repeats are “Attila the Hun”, “Let the Show Go on”, “Settle the Score” and “Revelation”. You are going to love both riffs and solos. Giorgos Karafotis and Joe Stump have already had a lot of experience on their fingers from other bands to create that heavy manifesto.
“Descent to the Underworld” will make you take a breathe from many new albums that dive into the past and I’m sure that you’ll go with it many times. Do not ignore them and I repeat again, that as a debut is really good, but their future will be much better. Hopes are with them.
Review by Dr.Feelgood