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Grand Magus - "Triumph and Power" (CD)

Grand Magus - "Triumph and Power" CD cover image

"Triumph and Power" track listing:

1. On Hooves Of Gold
2. Steel Versus Steel
3. Fight
4. Triumph And Power
5. Dominator
6. Arv
7. Holmgång
8. The Naked And The Dead
9. Ymer
10. The Hammer Will Bite
11. Blackmoon (Bonus Track)

Reviewed by on February 5, 2014

"Its brilliance is in its simplicity, as 'Triumph and Power' is chock full of chest beating anthems….the one that causes hate filled frowns and evil smiles from metalheads bearing horn shaped extremities."

Fresh off an album-stealing performance on Ayreon’s “The Theory of Everything,” the king of bad ass, JB Christoffersson, returns with the latest round of Grand Magus’ Viking fueled rock ‘n’ metal “Triumph and Power.” Sure to be one of the highlights of 2014, the album does not disappoint. The band takes the hard rockin’ direction of “The Hunt” and adds more chrome, more leather, more spikes and tons of fist-to-face crunch. Expect ultra-catchy, instant headbang-inducing and flawlessly gritty power tracks - it's a virtual lock with every Grand Magus album. With “Triumph and Power,” the name says it all and Grand Magus stands alone in this style.

One of the most appealing features of Grand Magus, outside of the music, is that the band does not feel the need to cheese up the works with a hokey image. Most “Viking bands” (subgenre styles aside) feel a need to sport an image to back the music, where JB and the boys simply shove the music in your face and dare you not to become infected. Grand Magus is Thor kicking ass without a horned helmet. The band’s hammer is crushing/grinding riffs, “salt of the earth” strength, and rough and raw production bound together by copious and often ridiculous amounts of memorability.

Lyrically steeped in what on its face appears like tales of metallic victory, you simply cannot stop the avalanche of emotion that forces the listener to sing out lyrics like “for the triumph and the power, spoils of war!” Grand Magus has become both the Manowar that used to be and the one that should have been. They are blessed by the metal gods with an uncanny ability to present material that is a sing-along from the very first spin. Its brilliance is in its simplicity, as "Triumph and Power" is chock full of chest beating anthems….the one that causes hate filled frowns and evil smiles from metalheads bearing horn shaped extremities.

It would be futile to resist the power and brazen charm that oozes from every crevice of this album. Picking favorites only seems to belittle the unchosen, but the easy standouts are the title track, “On Hooves of Gold,” “Steel Versus Steel,” “Dominator,” “Holmgang” and one of the coolest tracks penned by the band, “The Hammer Will Bite.” If there was a chink in the armor, it would be the “The Naked and the Dead,” which laughingly falls by a width of a hair below the rest of the album.

With each release, it becomes hard to envision a day when a Grand Magus album would be shunned and passed off as mediocre even if the band stayed exactly the same and essentially became the AC/DC of Viking rock. The formula works, and there is no need to fix anything. The ability to cause instant fist pumping from metalheads of all subgenres and walks of life is a pretty rare talent that a band should just keep milking until it quits or dies. May Grand Magus never die….especially with this much “Triumph and Power!”

Highs: Ridiculously catchy anthems. Grand Magus is pure bad ass.

Lows: Fans of ultra extreme would likely be the only ones left out on this one.

Bottom line: Grand Magus continues a formula full of "triumph and power."

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)