Album Review: Eternal Champion — “Ravening Iron”

I don’t need to tell you what this is.  Just look at that gorgeous Ken Kelly artwork, reminiscent of the best of Frank Franzetta (who was Kelly’s uncle, incidentally).  You instantly know, before you hear a riff, that you’re into some epic-scale traditional metal.  It’s something Eternal Champion have been holding the torch for since their inception, and new album Ravening Iron continues to set the template for what bands attempting to make this kind of music should be striving toward. Continue reading

Album Review: Grand Magus – “Sword Songs”

Grand Magus - Sword Songs - ArtworkAs their career has worn on, Stockholm-based Grand Magus have morphed from a relatively standard old-school doom metal outfit steeped in the aesthetics and lyrical themes of Norse mythology into a leaner, meaner beast that combines aspects of NWOBHM, traditional heavy metal, and some slivers of speed metal. Their core sound, however, has remained intact, always reliant upon the rhythmic power and memorability of their guitar work, battle-bred lyrics, and the compelling delivery of the vocals. Their latest, Sword Songs, changes little of what they’ve established on the past few albums; it’s a fun, accessible set of war hymns, but it reaches back into some of the band’s earlier doom roots to make it even more infectious.  Continue reading