"Triumph and Power"

by Don S. MacCobb

It was only a year and a half ago that Grand Magus last graced us with their presence.  ‘The Hunt’ was a good album, it was also my personal introduction to the band and their unique blend of stoner/doom and power metal.  Their latest, ‘Triumph and Power’, is better.  This Swedish quartet isn’t going hungry at the table of identity, that’s for sure.  Think Judas Priest and Angel Witch crossed with some undefinable characteristic that can only come from being snowed under 10 months of the year.

If you’re unfamiliar with Grand Magus, then ‘Triumph and Power’ is a good place to start.  The first thing you’ll notice is the distinctive voice of JB, it’s deep and resonant with just a touch of epic wail, ever bold, ever reaching.  It’s something the band as a whole and the music itself demands, to push brashly toward the epic.  This is sword-wielding music, but not blindly hacking away with the fury of a thousand martyrs’s sons kind of sword-wielding music, it’s calculating and methodical, though never too technical.  It’s measured and reasoned, though there’s still room for the old fire and brimstone in Grand Magus’s attack.

The marriage of fire, brimstone, power and doom is consummated in an orgy of rage and fury on “Fight”, the first peak moment on the album.  Title track “Triumph and Power”, “Dominator” and album closer “The Hammer Will Bite” also standout bravely from the pack with pulverizing strength and soul-sinking hooks.  ‘Triumph and Power’ is a superior album to ‘The Hunt’, there are more good songs, more ideas and changes of pace which makes for a more satisfying listen.  Grand Magus continue to cut and clear their own path through the forest, which takes a long time, especially when the destination is unknown but they are getting there, ‘Triumph and Power’ is a step in the right direction.