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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

View From The Back Of The Room: Grand Magus (Review By Paul)

Grand Magus & Planet Of Zeus, The Globe, Cardiff

It may have been April 1st but those who attended this show were no fools. Support was provided by the excellent stoner metal of Athens based Planet Of Zeus (7) who have been regular visitors to the UK over the past few years with their participation on the Lords Of The Riff tour and support to Clutch. (As well as a headline tour last year - Ed) A pretty sparse crowd were treated to a good 40 minutes of high energy Southern style stoner rock. Drummer Syke was suitably attired in a Clutch shirt, but it was the enthusiasm of vocalist and guitarist Babis which really impressed. This is a band that is always worth a watch.

That applies in spades to headliners Grand Magus (9). We’ve seen Magus many times. The Swedes no nonsense traditional heavy metal deserves much wider acclaim and they should be packing out venues three times the size of The Globe. Those that made the effort were treated to a powerful show from JB, Fox and Ludwig who blasted through three tracks from Hammer Of The North, Iron Will, Sword Songs and Triumph And Power as well as the set closer Kingslayer from 2005’s Wolf’s Return.

Magus clearly give zero fucks, they do what they do and if you don’t like it then you can do one. How anyone can fail to be absorbed into the fist pumping anthems such as Steel Vs Steel, Ravens Guide Our Way and the mighty Like The Oar That Strikes The Water is beyond my comprehension. Although it was a reasonably short set, there was much to remember. The pounding of Ludwig’s powerhouse drumming, the crazy antics of bassist Fox and the magnificent guitar work and storming vocals of frontman JB.

Opening with I, The Jury was a master stroke, the crowd immediately into full voice which continued until the final chords of final encore Hammer Of The North, which had it's "woah" refrain reprised numerous times at the end of the show even as the band left the stage. Live, Grand Magus can hold their own with any band on the circuit today. I remain mystified as to their apparent limited popularity, but those who chose to stay away were the losers. Oh, and any band that has an apron as part of their merchandise is alright by me.

Editor's Note - This was probably the best I have ever seen Grand Magus and I've seen them a fair few times, the genuine warmth that was shown and reciprocated was a great sight to see. Even the band seemed notably impressed calling the assembled crowd true metal maniacs after the gig (looking at the post gig comments at other shows this was not hyperbole).

As a side note on what was the second of two gigs in The Globe in the same number of days for me. It reminded me how versatile this venue is, it's adaptable enough to accommodate a mostly middle-aged progressive rock fan and also a throng of heavy metal maniacs. If only they had a better selection of real ale it would be pretty much perfect, still the Red Stripe and Strongbow drinkers are always well lubricated.

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