Wolf’s Return (Candlelight)
by Brian Varney
Wolf’s Return is the third Grand Magus full-length, and it shows a marked shift in the band’s sound. Whereas the first two could be described as doom with a bit of classic rock and metal, Wolf’s Return is nearly the opposite, a classic metal album with just a hint of doom. What this means for you, the listener, is more metal-studded fist-pumping, horns-throwing riffs, and livelier tempos than you might expect. This is good news if, like me, you’d rather listen to Number of the Beast or Stained Class than something by Cathedral or Count Raven.
A track like “Blood Oath” is a particularly prevalent example of this metamorphosis. While perhaps not as musically complex as yer favorite Maiden track, its rhythmic gallop and howling vocals are sure to sound just a bit familiar to any seasoned metal fan. The question any metalhead will surely ask is “Why listen to this when you can just play Iron Maiden?” Frankly, that’s a question I don’t have a good answer for, though I should note that Grand Magus is not a band without its own merits, especially the commanding vocals of singer/axe-slinger JB. I certainly don’t have a problem with retro-flavored tunes or bands (else I’d not be reviewing stoner rock records), but I understand that some people do. I would advise such folks to stick with their original NWOBHM records.