Review Summary: This is a start of an era. Enter the Gauntlet.
Hailing from Sweden this psychedelic, doom, retro rock, metal, and stoner group (whichever you would like to go with, Grand Magus like to use ‘Stoner Blues’) released their self-titled debut in 2001 and it makes for some of the best stoner metal to be released this side of the twentieth century. Grand Magus
has all the bounce of a conventional rock record and much of the catchiness created by the use of hooks and head banging grooves. To put it bluntly the music is straight-forward balls out featuring some retro passages from the 70’s and 80’s with an emphasis on fluent transitions between sections. Not only do tracks blend together with a familiar sound; Grand Magus blends their internal strong structures together with cleverly created chorus lines, verses and blistering (but not ‘wanking’) guitar solos.
is not a “fist pumping record”, rather it’s a ”bob your head up and down with steady appreciation record”. The music itself is not physically emotive in the way you want to go out and hit someone; instead the mood is mellow, great for a good time drinking or… listening to with the lights out. However the music doesn’t present too much in the way of technicality there is enough here to maintain the listeners interest on talent alone, for the most part Grand Magus
was built on a solid foundation of riffs and a solid percussion section. As for the production Grand Magus largely produced the album off their own backs and surprisingly the overall sound is beyond their time. The production itself plays a key role in allowing every minor feature of the music to shine through as well as the major features including JB Christoffersson’s soaring vocal lines. The impact of the bass guitar is also quite noticeable and whilst they may fall into mimicking the guitar line they hold a presence to ensure Grand Magus’
vibrant and thick sound.
Overall, this is music to please the senses. The album has a simplistic yet commanding presence in its soundscape. Helped by a quality home-made production this self-titled debut is an impressive release and is certain to receive multiple listens. Grand Magus shows that they are quality musicians going out on a limb with their retro influenced doom metal. A band that is more than capable gives listeners a taste of something that is not going to go out of fashion anytime soon. Solid song writing and lyrics with depth backed by a group of talented musicians going for broke releasing music ahead and behind their time.