Grand Magus are back! The former doomlords with the blues have continued with their deeper forays into metal, with a classic NWOBHM feel and a smidgen less Manowar. The album artwork was once again created by Anthony Roberts , depicting a dark unwelcoming forest under a waxing crescent moon with an arrow struck wolf man, manacled but in broken chains. One claw gripping a skull, the other coming for you!.
“Not just any wolf though… beware his fury. This is the Wolf God!”
Wolf God is a title to spark the imagination, to make your hair stand on end and there certainly are such moments within. Embracing a new way of working for this album, which the trio have been working on since Sword Songs (released 2016), singer and guitarist JB says this:
“We decided to let go of the current philosophy to record drums first and then bass and then guitar etc. This time, we met up, jammed and created together during the last six months with the goal to record basic tracks live.“
Tracking 7 songs in two and a half days, live recording has increased not only the productivity, but there is a very warm feel to the album, perhaps a little more genuine. Apparently the majority of the songs were recorded in just one take, this is powerful and intense, but with a familiarity in the riffery and great engagement with the audience. There is an almost jam band feel, with echoes of previous songs floating in the magical ether.
Gold and Glory opens the album as a medieval style epic, this is a track that could easily appear in a Game of Thrones offshoot. Majestic, atmospheric and stirring; but also quite unexpected and a delightful change to the start of a heavy metal album. Powerful, but not power metal! The scene has been set, a sense of relaxation and empowerment floods every cell of your being. In preparation of the advent of the
Wolf God. I’m impressed, the driving rhythm is somewhat reminiscent of DIO with its powerful mid tempo deep groove. Lyrically, it’s relatively simplistic but thoroughly gripping. Great walking guitar solo
A Hall Clad in Gold opens with thunderous drums of Ludwig Witt and a a bass riff from the underworld courtesy of Mats Fox Hedén Skinner. Thoroughly rousing and the timbre and passion in JB’s voice is staggering. This was the latest and third track to be released from the album and it’s a melancholic anthem complete with howling wind sound effects and an impassioned finish.“Who knows what happens when death claims you? The only thing you can do is to be true to yourself and strive toward being the best you can be. Perhaps fate will decide the rest.”
Brother of the Storm opens with strong Black Sabbath vibes, but with the unmistakable velvety depth of Grand Magus. The only negative I have with regards to this track is that a little over three minutes leaves me begging for more! See what you think with the official lyric video here
Dawn of Fire despite opening with running water, this slow burner will set your ears alight. Catchy, dynamic with an anthemic almost old school Iron Maiden feel I am ready for this day of reckoning!
Spear Thrower brings on the full Viking urge to party like it’s Ragnarok while To Live and Die in Solitude is more of a gallop into a battle of which you are more than a little wary. Time to prepare for the charge. With a laid back syncopation and an almost hip-hop feel the drums introduce the gloriously groovy Glory to the Brave with its psychedelic hints and Black Sabbath edge. Laid back, but crushing with a great narrative. He Sent Them All to Hel kicks off with more of an 80’s mood (dare I suggest, circa Shout At The Devil), complete with chanting and a very catchy chorus. Play it LOUD! Untamed closes Wolf God aptly. Superb guitarwork, pounding percussion and exhilarating riffs complete the adventure. All hail the Wolf God! 8.5/10
- Gold and Glory 2:17
- Wolf God 3:49
- A Hall Clad in Gold 5:01
- Brother of the Storm 3:15
- Dawn of Fire 5:12
- Spear Thrower 2:55
- To Live and Die in Solitude 3:41
- Glory to the Brave 5:15
- He Sent Them All to Hel 3:37
- Untamed 3:45
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