MMXIII was a year with a dearth of proper Heavy Metal releases. Death and post-metal dominated, but a horns in the air, involuntary neck-moving, fist-pumping classic metal was nary to be found. The year turns and Grand Magus remind us all what we’ve been missing. Triumph And Power (Nuclear Blast) is as metal as they come.
It’s worth saying this may not be Grand Magus best album, that honour still belongs to Iron Will, but that is more testament to the high-quality outputs of a band that are criminally still the bridesmaid despite some excellent albums in their canon than any fault of this offering.
Pre-Turbo Judas Priest, Manowar (Ross The Boss-era) and Sabbath (all eras) are the predominant influences in an album and when your main sources of (Triumph and) Power are Vikings and classic metal it’s pretty difficult not to rule the waves, the land or the wind. ‘On Hooves Of Gold’ evokes the Valkyrie-epic of Manowar’s ‘Blood of My Enemies’, ‘Steel Versus Steel’ and ‘Fight’ stir the blood, simple galloping riffs over a driving drum beat and choruses that are crying to Asgaard to be belted out live after a few ales.
There is no let-up either, as the title-track a Battle Hymn of the highest order, swaggers in over a thunderous bass line ripped out by Fox, the guitars stab in before we’re swept into a rousing call-to-arms chorus that segues into a true metal solo via a Holy Diver middle eight. Exhausted yet? This is then followed by the Priest worshipping ‘Dominator’, a song that will bang the head that doesn’t bang. JB Christofferson owns this album, distinctive strong and gruffly velvet over the doomier ‘Holmgang’, dominant and rousing on the air-guitar inducing ‘The Naked And The Dead’, owner of a great chorus before things are brought to a fitting close by the epic ‘The Hammer Will Bite’, a summation of all that has gone before.
Triumph And Power is a statement of vibrant classic metal intent, hosting a series of anthems strong and pure that if Viking justice be done will propel its’ creators to lead the great battle in the sky.