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The Hunt

Nuclear Blast (2012)
Rating: 8/10

Swedish metal titans Grand Magus return with their Nuclear Blast debut, The Hunt. While I’d never heard of this band prior to this, many of my friends have encouraged me to listen to them. I was quite surprised that all the “hype” was not only true, it was also an understatement.

Grand Magus were obviously raised on a steady diet of Dio, Rainbow, Kiss, and Thin Lizzy. Their sound is almost dated sounding without ever really falling far enough into the cliché to make it feel like that though. The Hunt reminds me a bit of what CKY, The Company Band and Fireball Ministry have tried to do, but it is miles ahead of any release by those bands. Miles ahead.

While lyrically The Hunt probably has more in common with Amon Amarth or Dio, musically the album kicks off with a song that Kiss should buy from them and record. ‘Starlight Slaughter’ screams 70s rock anthem and the chorus vocal instantly reminds you of Paul Stanley in his heyday.

‘Silver Moon’, the darker ‘Draksadd’, and ‘Iron Hand’ have that same driven rock sound that weaves in and out of full on rock anthem and heavy groove, creating something much more interesting than it sounds on paper.

The other side of this album is big, epic mountain rock that offers deep grooves and traditional leads with a slightly more dynamic vocal. ‘The Hunt’ and ‘Valhalla Rising’ capture this part of the band very well, but honestly it pales in comparison to the more straightforward sound. These songs would stand really well on their own, but compared to the sound of the rest of the album they seem slightly out of place musically.

‘Son Of The Last Breath’ does much the same with the exception of its Euro-folk opening and its slower and more plodding march. Again, it would stand alone well, but here it just really disrupts the groove the album keeps trying to catch.

Overall, Grand Magus certainly has my attention (I will be checking in to their back catalogue asap). They have managed to create something that many have attempted and few have attained. This is an authentic classic rock record. It immediately transports you to a time when tube amps and fuzz boxes ruled popular music. A time when drummers and bassists were an important part of the band. A time when “rocking out” was a heavy term.

The Hunt is a great record that any fan of this style will enjoy for sure. If you enjoy Firebird, Spiritual Beggars or early Dio then The Hunt is a mandatory purchase for you.

Mark Fisher

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