Wed 11th February 2009
This album is METAL!!! No understated nonsense here at all... From the cover to the title (and the track titles too: for example "silver into steel") you know what your getting. Starting briefly on "Like the oar Strikes the water" with a nice baklava (???) intro it soon kicks into a brutal Metal riff-fest with beautifully sustained and melodic vocals.
The album continues very much on this par and some nice tempo changes for double kick drum work outs to nice sustained chord pieces.
This album was recorded over the mid winter you can hear that within this body of work, a band locked away in Stockholm surrounded by snow and cold temporaries with only their riffs to keep them warm. Its obviously been as well crafted too, each song flows as a well structured written piece of music. Also not littered with too many pointless solos for the sake of it which really pays to their advantage. But all the while not pretending its something it isn't which is a really good Metal album.
This album would certainly make fans of the band very happy as I'd say it's a real return to form. The recording too is very precise and clean, but for the style of music and I think if it was no so well recorded it would just sound like a cheap Iron maiden rip off album. But as the guitars have been allowed and turned up to 11 it kicks heavy and hard, but also the melodic and often harmonized vocals sit happily with the guitars and driving drums.
While not what I would normal plump for myself on a regular basis this record does for me stand up better than previous albums I have heard by this band. It's a metal album unashamedly, yet still avoids too many clichés in the process and comes out as a well thought out and constructed album.
I'd say fans of their previous albums, Maiden, Witchsorrow, Battlewitch, etc should definitely check out Grand Magus's Iron Will!