Tag Archives: 2016

Grand Magus – Sword Songs (Review)

You failed your luck roll. The eagle fucks off with your sword.
You failed your luck roll. The eagle fucks off with your sword.

Much as I enjoyed it, I was frustrated by how polite Grand Magus’ last album Triumph and Power was. Their brand of strutting, Manowar-ish, mid-tempo trad metal was charming, hooky and personable but it was too nice. I wanted them to get more bloodthirsty. I’m pleased to report that their latest album Sword Songs is a definite improvement. The drumming is forceful, the riffs are more earth-shaking and the guitar solos are bolder. But the sense of urbanity remains: mainly due to the persistent mid-tempos and JB’s vocal delivery. He’s got a soulful voice full of grit and character but I really want to hear him bust his lungs for the cause. It’s more a frustration than a criticism. If they gave it up more this band would be godly. And I want that for them. Sword Songs is a decisive manoeuvre but it’s not the stuff of legend. You don’t get into Valhalla without cracking a few skulls.

HMO Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Candlemass – Death Thy Lover EP (Review)

dtl
The Death Thy Lover Cover!

Candlemass’ last album, 2012’s Psalms for the Dead, was mooted to be their last. But now, to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the release of their debut album, the doom legends have returned with a new EP: Death Thy Lover.

As celebrations go, this EP is a bit like that time the Oban Community Firework Display accidentally set off all their fireworks at once. But not as exciting.

Once you’ve heard the excellent opening track Death Thy Lover you might as well pack up and go home cause there’s nothing happening here. Sleeping Giant is woefully dull nursery-rhyme doom. Sinister and Sweet is livened up only by a superb guitar solo from Lars Johansson and The Goose is a bland instrumental. New vocalist Mats Levén performs well but can only do so much with such unengaging material.

I had high hopes for Death Thy Lover but this mediocre EP fails to recall any of the band’s tremendous former glories or offer a way forward. Candlemass’ 30th Anniversary celebration has misfired. Move along, nothing to see here.

HMO Rating: 2 out of 5