If Grand Magus falls in a forest when no one is around, does it make a sound? Hell yes it does, and you can bet the sonic waves sent from its rhythmic pounding are so unbelievably gigantic that even the smartest person caught in the crossfire of the unrelenting lash of Grand Magus will morph into a thick-headed dummy. Grand Magus plays an extravagant hybrid of heavy/doom metal that is remarkably simple at its core yet dramatically heroic and bold, roiling on in a massive shockwave of bruising riffs and the manly croons of Janne "JB" Christoffersson's sensational vocal chords. "Iron Will" strikes hard and sounds like an excellent testament to classic heavy metal rolled in a pagan tint and finally glazed with an electric sense of enthusiasm and conviction.
While the songs are far from technical or layered in any sense of compositional achievement, they are smoldering with affection the likes of which are seldom reached. Grand Magus is all about delivering a few amazingly crushing riffs that usually cycle around very simple choruses and guitar solos, but their sound is actually original and they really bring a ton of energy to songs that otherwise would look a little banal. The riffs are generally inspiring, and the meaty production makes the whole package a huge mesh of steel courage. I'll fully admit that I may have a bit of a mancrush on Christoffersson's stellar voice, which fits perfectly into the heavy-as-hell firing occurring throughout the whole record. His vocals are deep and powerful, not a far cry from his work in Spiritual Beggars, but still just pure metal sliding off his tongue.
The nine tunes all follow the same structure and seldom deviate from the doom-laden heavy metal blueprint. No complaints here though, because these Swedes knew just what they wanted and absolutely CRUSHED any chance of forging mediocrity. Right from the start, the mountains of pristine gruff take complete control during the gliding "Like the Oar Strikes the Water" and the rocking "Fear is the Key." The title track and "Silver Into Steel" are rigorous anthems of epic dominance; both keep the atmosphere fresh and insanely catchy. As I already said, it's the devotion which runs "Iron Will." You can tell Grand Magus were playing their hearts out, and the power literally drips like a drop of molten steel. Talk about the most motivation piece of music ever; you have serious problems if the sheer passion and energy doesn't make you want to conquer every kingdom and government.
I love the simplistic churning of "Self-Deceiver" and I love the upbeat chorus chugging through "The Shadow Knows." I love the unrelenting bashing of "Like the Oar Strikes the Water" and I love how epic and cunning the chorus of "I Am the North" slithers out of Christoffersson's voice. In fact, most of "Iron Will" is entirely loveable. Grand Magus can take heavy/doom metal and stuff it with an illegal amount of voltage, and "Iron Will" is a monolithic landmark to the poignant and dynamic material wallowing in this wonderful faction. They can write compelling and passionate heavy metal tunes with just a few riffs per track, never leaving one of the nine songs to fall beneath the standard of sheer iron. Great stuff.