(Pic. : Janne Fox)
Last time I’ve seen Grand Magus was on the Roadburn festival. I didn’t like their show back then, it sounded too clinical and perhaps the big hall of 013 isn’t the correct place to witness a band like Grand Magus. I decided to give them another chance. For this reason we went to a club show on their short promotional club tour for their latest album
Iron Will. Luckily the show was held in the small cellar hall of Dynamo. That showed to be a good decision, because the turnout wasn’t that good.
First band that opened the night were Belgium sleazy Southern rockers Southern Voodoo. An enjoyable opening band that sounds like a mix between Alabama Thunderpussy and Peter Pan Speedrock. Nothing special, but they played very well and with loads of enthusiasm. They had a good build up in their setlist, clearly they’ve put the weaker songs in the beginning of the set and the catchy, good songs in the end of the show. They brought along a lot of fans, which straight away resulted in a good vibe in the small cellar of Dynamo. If they are capable of writing a setlist with just killers and no fillers, they will turn out to be a really good band!
Second band of the night were locals Monstertone. They are a new stoner band, which exists for 1,5 years now. I don’t know if they played a lot of shows already, but they looked pretty convincing on stage. If you look at their appearance, you wouldn’t expect such a good rocking band. They look like your local pub band, but they actually rocked hard! Musically it’s groovy stonerrock, which has similarities to bands like Soundgarden, Kyuss and Monster Magnet. Their singer has a strong voice, he really can sing. They surprised the audience by playing ‘Lifer’ from the first Down album. Good musicians and decent music. I’m curious to see how they evolve in the future.
Belgium doomsters from Serpentcult recently got signed by the highly acclaimed Rise Above label. Their new full length debut album Weight Of Light just came out a few weeks ago. For this reason Serpentcult joined Grand Magus on their short European tour, to present their new album to the audience. For the people who aren’t familiar with this band, this is truly a band you love or hate! There is no compromise in between! This is mainly caused by their female vocalist. Musically it’s absolutely heavy, dirty Celtic Frost influenced doom-metal. Their vocalist Michelle sings over these enormous heavy riffs in a clean, gothic-like voice, similar to vocalists from bands like After Forever and Within Temptation. This strange combination doesn’t work for a lot of people and I personally am not convinced if it works at all. It’s a hard combination to listen through. The music is brilliant, with some awesome skullcrushing heavy riffs in it, but the vocals take away a lot of the power. For a couple of songs it is o.k., but for an entire set it is just a little too much. Perhaps in time, I will understand what they are trying to do.
Then it was time for the Swedish metal band Grand Magus. I absolutely love their self titled debut album. On that album they have the perfect mix between groove, stoner and traditional heavy metal. In the albums that followed, the musical style shifted more and more towards the traditional heavy metal. I hoped to hear some songs from their debut, but the focus of tonight’s show was mainly on their last album Iron Will and the albums Monument and Wolf’s Return. Highlights of the show were the heavier songs from their last album, like ‘The Shadow Knows’ and ‘Fear Is The Key’. The people, who turned up to see this band, really enjoyed themselves and gave the band a warm welcome. I personally enjoyed this show a lot more than the previous ones I’ve seen. I’m still hopping on two legs with this band, because I really like their heavier doom/stoner related songs, but I can’t stand their Manowar worshipping heavy metal songs. This band deserves my respect though! They have their hearts on the right place and they are really dedicated in what they do.