"Sword Songs"

By Theron Moore

Gotta admit, the Grand Magus boys have scored a hit with their new record “Sword Songs.”  “Freja’s Choice” begins the record with a Deep Purple groove as wide as the ocean and just as deep.  The vocals of Janne "JB" Christoffersson redefine the term “heavy rock” – rich, textured, layered.  Grand Magus, like Kadavar and The Sword, are old souls that seem out of place in 2016 but welcomed nevertheless to bring back the true spirit of rock.  Check the song “Born for Battle” and you’ll see what I mean.

I’ll be honest with you.  The Viking and fantasy themes, I can do without that.  It’s not adding anything extra to the songs.  That works for a band like Amon Amarth, not so much here.  Musically, especially vocally, that’s where the Grand Magus identity is.  The D&D stuff doesn’t fit their sound or atmosphere they create.  

In fact, it’s distracting, even confusing, like you’re expecting some kind of black metal band but get straight forward, metal tinged, killer hard rock instead. The music I can get behind, the other crap, not so much.  I mentioned the band Kadavar above.  They got it right, they figured it out.  If Magus can do this with future releases they will simply be unstoppable but they still feel like a niche band, gimmicky.  I don’t want to hear about magic swords and Viking raids.  Like Aerosmith said, let the music do the talking.  Denim and leather.  All in all, “Sword Songs” is still good, Deep Purple inspired heavy rock worth a listen or two.