Date: March 25th, 2017
Venue: Voodoo Lounge, Dublin
Line-up: Grand Magus + Stereo Nasty + Zlatanera
For those that follow the metal shows in Ireland the name of Grand Magus is one that is instantly recognisable. The band have been frequent visitors to our fair shores since their show way back in 2012 as supporting Amon Amarth returning every subsequent year afterwards. Their most recent visit was as the opening act for Amon Amarth and Testament this past November and they were quick to announce their own headline show quickly afterwards.
Supporting the band on this run were two local bands, Zlatanera and Stereo Nasty. Thanks to the “wonderful” Irish public transport system I only made it in time to catch the very last track of Zlatanera‘s set, a real shame since it sounded like quite the heavy banger. Now suitably settled it was time for the next band Stereo Nasty to come to the stage. This band bring back the old school feel of the 80’s, all the good and bad of it; guitarist Adrian Foley and bassist Rud Holohan were wearing the padding from a football uniform with spikes sticking out in every direction, drummer Fran Moran made sure to put on some sunglasses before starting their set and vocalist Mick Mahon jumped to the stage with a cool swagger. It was almost quick to write this band off as a bit of a gimmick based off appearances but they let their music do the talking and they are the real deal. Their music is a love letter to those days of old and this showed through their performance which showed a band just loving what they’re doing and the crowd lapping up every bit of it; the fists were in the air and the heads were banging.
With an Irish appearance on a yearly basis, people are already prepared for Grand Magus to hit the stage. Whether it’s been a quick support slot or a headline show like tonight, the three-piece turn it up to 11 when they start to play. Opening with the tried and true ‘I, The Jury’ the crowd quickly warmed up to them when the main riff hit them.
With a longer set the band were able to add a few more new songs from their latest album Sword Songs, which was released last year. ‘Varangian’ may sound familiar to those who caught the bands last appearance and its battle rousing chorus “We are warriors – defenders of steel”, a similar reaction was gained with ‘Forged in Iron – Crowned in Steel’ and its loud chants of “Viking metal”. It was also good to see some of the tracks from previous album Triumph and Power still remained in the setlist, after all it’s not unusual to see bands drop songs when a new album comes out, the upbeat ‘Steel Versus Steel’ keeping the crowds spirits up.
As always the bands performance is spot on with their heavy sound always kept intact despite only being a three piece. Frontman JB Christoffersson has built a solid relationship with Irish audiences with his “everyman” personality and iron lungs. Drummer Ludwig Witt continues to impress, he even managed to squeeze a drum solo into the end of ‘Like the Oar Strikes the Water’, and together with bassist Fox Skinner forms the bands incredibly strong rhythm section.
The crowd were a little rowdier than usual, it probably helped that it was a Saturday night show, but they were making the most of the bands performance by chanting and singing along to the choruses with fists firmly in the air. Closing the night was of course ‘Hammer of the North’, no Grand Magus show is complete without the appearance of this anthem. The deafening howls of “woahs” fill the room and bring the night and another successful Grand Magus show to a close.
I, The Jury
On Hooves of Gold
Steel Versus Steel
Forged in Iron – Crowned in Steel
Ravens Guide Our Way
Like the Oar Strikes the Water
Triumph and Power
Silver Into Steel
Hammer of the North