Grand Magus Iron Will

Grand Magus Iron Will
To celebrate the release of Sweden's metal masters Grand Magus's new disc, The Hunt, we get a couple reissues of older albums on the same day. Iron Will, which originally came out in 2008, starts out with "Like the Oar Strikes the Water," which promises way more folky/pagan metal sounds than the band's previous disc, Wolf's Return. But it's a ruse. Grand Magus follow that up with "Fear is the Key," one of the band's most melodic, '80s trad metal throwbacks; it's so melodic it almost ventures into '80s hard rock turf, until the doom-tinged mid-section drops. The title track is a glorious piece of epic, anthemic trad metal, like Manowar when they're not embarrassing the listener too much. "The Shadow Knows" lays down Mustaine-quality riffs for a fast thrasher. And therein lays the beauty of this band: they can hop from all of these sounds pretty flawlessly, on this album a bit more smoothly than on their last, and on their more recent output, it's even closer to pure metal majesty. This is definitely a reissue worth checking out, despite the lack of extras (or maybe because of that, as those things usually kind of stink anyway). (Metal Blade)