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Grand Magus
Hammer Of The North

Company: Roadrunner Records
Release: 2010
Genre: Traditional
Reviewer: EC

  • Crushing display of heavy metal spirit



  • I've forged the icy rivers and paths set forth by Sweden's Grand Magus for a decade now. The traditional metal act never fails to please, delivering top-tier genre albums through their short but illustrious career. My first venture with the band was back in 2005 with the stellar "Wolf's Return" album. The record was a marvelous entry in the true metal realm that embraced the Sabbath fundamentals while exploring a colder and darker environment reminiscent of Swedish death metal. The band has been very active since then, playing all of the European festivals and touring in support of "Wolf's Return" as well as the 2008 release "Iron Will". The band have released all of their studio efforts on Rise Above Records and now find themselves at the upper echelon of metal's hierarchy; an album release for the powerful Roadrunner Records brand.

    The Stockholm band's first release for Roadrunner is "Hammer Of The North", a crushing display of heavy metal spirit that burns with 70s and 80s raw finesse. These riffs are just mammoth, recalling the finest moments of Sabbath, early Judas Priest, Overdrive, and the mighty Heavy Load. Often I hear that frost permeate throughout, recalling the writing style of Amon Amarth or Bathory but politely dropped into that "clean" true metal sound. The band is loud, obnoxiously heavy, and overall delivers another solid gem that speaks well for the Swedish metal scene and the sub-genre it represents.

    "I, The Jury" is a strong opener, pushing along with a bulldozer riff that backs vocalist Christoffersson's mid-register Halford wail. This track along with "Norther Star" really embrace that "Screaming For Vengeance" Priest sound with Christoffersson's vocal register and the huge melodic riffs. The title track pounces on a wicked bass line and even incorporates some atmospheric elements, almost as if Sergio Leone directed a viking tale. The album is rather memorable as well, with songs like "Mountains Be My Name" and "At Midnight They'll Get Wise" shaking with a bit of thrash tendencies, all classic and dressed up with a chorus that will stay with you for weeks.

    The Bottom Line - The band recently stated to "Terrorizer" that they write songs, not riffs and sketches but actual songs and it definitely is evident with this fantastic entry to the group's catalogue. "Hammer Of The North" is the best of Grand Magus and one that should really put the band on the mainstream map with the Roadrunner partnership. If anyone questioned the relevance of the "true metal" movement then look to the sky for this shining star.


    About this Writer:
    Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: GRAND MAGUS
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Hammer Of The NorthGrand Magus
    2010
    Eric Compton8/24/2010
    Wolf's ReturnGrand Magus
    2005
    Eric Compton6/16/2005


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: GRAND MAGUS
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Sword SongsGrand Magus
    2016
    Eric Compton7/12/2016


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: GRAND MAGUS
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


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    ERIC COMPTON PICKS
    Los Sin Nombre
    Blind Leading Blind
    Grave Digger
    Healed by Metal
    Albatross Overdrive
    Albatross Overdrive
    Amorphis
    The Beginning Of Times
    One Machine
    The Final Cull

    GREG WATSON PICKS
    Kreator
    Phantom Antichrist
    Cognition
    Spiral of Deception
    Our Place of Worship Is Silence
    The Emodiment of Hate
    Shattered
    New Atlantis
    Forgotten Woods
    As The Wolves Gather+

    FRANK HILL PICKS
    Biomechanical
    Cannabalised
    Oceans of Night
    Domain
    Armory
    The Dawn Of Enlightenment
    Gentlemens Pistols
    S/T
    Volbeat
    Rock The Rebel / Metal The Devil

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    Frontschwein
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    Legions Of Bastards
    Aetherius Obscuritas
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