STORMLORD / MARE NOSTRUM
I first came across Italian Black Metal band Stormlord in 2004 when they released the excellent “Gorgon Cult”, the band stared off as Death Metal and progressed to epic Black Metal on subsequent albums and this album (their 5th) sees a further progressive with a greater use of orchestration into the realms of Symphonic Black Metal with a touch of Doom thrown in.
Musically this album is more in tune with Dimmu Borgir with more symphonic touches, a Black Metal equivalent of Rhapsody Of Fire and takes the band into a different league, listen to “Legacy Of The Snake” or the epic track “Emet” where the symphonic touches are put to good use and there is some choral work in there too. The track “The Castaway” has a more Celtic acoustic feel with some harp in the mix s well; the vocal harmonies have a baroque feel to them that give the track a very haunting, melancholy feel to it that is very appealing.
This is without doubt the best Stormlord album so far and the progression sees the band enter a different league, international recognition must surely be beckoning in 2008, they cannot go unnoticed any longer with quality material as good as this, also listen out for: “Neon Karma” that has some superb female operatic type singing on it, “Mare Nostrum” the stunning “Dimension Hate” and the haunting “Stromlord”. This is an essential purchase and a well deserved album of the week.
TOTAL PLAYING TIME = 47 mins + 9 STROMING TRACKS
GRAND MAGUS / IRON WILL
The is the 4th album from Grand Magus, officially they are listed as a Stoner band but this album is more akin to Tony Martin era Black Sabbath, which for me is no bad thing as I like those albums.
There is more of a Norse theme to this album as tracks “Like The Oars Strike The Water”, “Iron Will” and “I Am The North” demonstrate, both have more of a Viking / Power Metal theme to them that is really good. The opening riff to “The Shadow Knows” is a strong powerful one, a bit to reminiscent of a Saxon song but we’ll let that pass, the Sabbathesque “Beyond Good And Evil” is the jewel in the crown for me, a powerful slow deliberate song with some inspired guitar playing and the drum fills on this track are totally inspired and a joy to hear and makes you reach for the repeat button on the CD player.
If you haven’t come across Grand Magus before this is a very good place to start, also listen out for “Silver Into Steel” and “Fear Is The Key”, you can be sure you will hare tracks from this CD on my HFM show.
TOTAL PLAYING TIME = 46 mins + 9 TRACKS