Grand Magus – Wolf God 

Though we’re something like forty years in, there’s still something safe and reassuring about the warm embrace of classic swords-and-sorcery Heavy Metal. The kind where there’s big solos, epic choruses, and a wailing frontman.

Though they started life as a Stoner outfit, for the last decade plus Grand Magus has been solidly reliable purveyors of classic heavy metal, and the Swede’s ninth album Wolf God (Nuclear Blast) delivers more of the same.

There are songs about strength and bravery and spears and fire, vocalist/guitarist JB Christoffersson is on fine form as ever, it’s all fist-pumpingly epic, and is very easy to bang your head to.

And if that’s enough for you, you might just love Wolf God.

But there’s little variety on offer; it’s mostly those mid-paced fist pumpers with the odd gallop and air-guitary worthy solo. Though it’s all perfectly well-crafted, it feels like an album going through the motions. There’s nothing that’s surprising, and even less that really gets the blood pumping.

If you’re a fan of modern Magus, there’s probably enough here to keep you happy. The likes of the title track, the Dio-esque ‘A Hall Clad In Gold’, the slow gallop of ‘Dawn Of Fire’, and the rousing ‘Glory to the Brave’ all sound like they could be good crowd-pleasing fodder live. ‘He Sent them all to Hel’ has a strong Judas Priest vibe about it, ‘Spear Thrower’ as a post-2000s Iron Maiden feel and is probably the best track on show.

All in all, Wolf God is difficult to hate, but hard to love. Grand Magus stick to what they know and they do it well, but that’s about it.

7 / 10

DAN SWINHOE