Grand Magus at Headbangers Open Air 2014
|Also known as||Smack [1996–99]|
|Genres||Heavy metal, doom metal, stoner metal|
|Labels||Rise Above, Roadrunner, Nuclear Blast|
|Associated acts||Spiritual Beggars, Abramis Brama, Bajen Death Cult, Fortune, Four Sticks, Southfork, Plankton|
Grand Magus are a three-piece heavy metal band hailing from Stockholm, Sweden. Drawing influence from bands such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Judas Priest, Rainbow, Uriah Heep, Nazareth and Manowar, Grand Magus' sound consists of an amalgamation of blues, hard rock, heavy metal and doom.
The band originally formed in 1996 by former Cardinal Fang vocalist Janne "JB" Christoffersson, bassist Mats "Fox" Skinner and first drummer Iggy under the name 'Smack'. Early 1998 saw Iggy depart the fold and replacement Fredrik "Trisse" Liefvendahl join as a response to an advert for the vacant drummer position. A change in musical direction dictated the fabled name change to the more apt Grand Magus. A demo was recorded and on its merit received a positive response. This spearheaded an appearance on the Waterdragon Records compilation, Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (2000) and a split 7" LP with fellow countrymen Spiritual Beggars (who JB would later join on vocals 2002-2010) on Southern Lord Records.
Debut album Grand Magus hit on November 5, 2001, via Rise Above Records (who would release the band's first four albums). This album continues to contribute to the band's cult status with doom and heavy metal fans today. Two more albums would follow: Monument, November 25, 2003, and Wolf's Return, June 14, 2005. These would show a progression to a more heavy metal sound but still retain the charm of their groove and stoner roots. Early 2006 saw Magus embark on a European tour supporting Cathedral, along with Electric Wizard, accentuating the band's ability to deliver the goods live.
In 2006, Trisse left the band with Sebastian "Seb" Sippola being recruited on drums. The band released their fourth album, Iron Will, on June 9, 2008, which garnered critical acclaim from the rock and music press by achieving first place in Metal Hammer Germany‘s Soundcheck. This would stand as the last album to be released under Rise Above Records.
December, 2009 saw the announcement that Roadrunner Records were to release Grand Magus' fifth album Hammer of the North in the Summer of 2010. Released June 21, 2010, Hammer of the North became a huge breakthrough within the band's history, triumphing in the Soundchecks of both German Hard Rock and Metal Hammer magazines. Further, the effort ascended to #42 on the German album chart leading to a support slot on the joint tour of legends Mötorhead and Doro. The track of the same name, "Hammer of the North", offers a euphoric plateau for crowd participation, excelling consistently as a conclusion to a live set. The album also yielded two other staple live songs in "Ravens Guide Our Way" and primary set opener "I, the Jury".
In order to concentrate more on family life, April 2012 saw the amicable departure of Seb from the band. This in turn led to long time friend Ludwig "Ludde" Witt, of Spiritual Beggars, taking helm at the skins. On May 25, 2012, their sixth album, The Hunt, was released via Nuclear Blast Records.
The band's seventh offering came in the form of Triumph and Power, released January 31, 2014, and continued the momentum of its predecessor. Cover artwork was created by the talented and acclaimed artist Anthony Roberts.
Grand Magus' eighth endeavor, and the band's latest studio album, Sword Songs was released May 13, 2016 (available in the following formats: CD, limited edition CD - with 2 bonus tracks, black vinyl and white, silver and gold limited editions). The songs were recorded during the midwinter months of 2015-16, produced by Nico Elgstrand. On the lead up to release, JB commented: "We put all of our sweat, blood and tears into this new album and I think that you can hear that. For me, Sword Songs is the best Grand Magus album ever! The new songs are faster and more aggressive than on Triumph and Power—and we have also included some more extreme and harder stuff. I’m convinced that there are some future classics on the disc!" A cover version of Deep Purple's "Stormbringer" was included as a bonus track on the limited edition CD version, the first cover released in the band's history.
- Janne "JB" Christoffersson - lead vocals, guitar (1996–present)
- Mats "Fox" Skinner - bass, backing vocals (1996–present)
- Ludwig "Ludde" Witt - drums (2012–present)
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|Hammer of the North||—||73||—||—||42||—||—||—|
|Triumph and Power||
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
|"Hammer of the North"||2010||Hammer of the North|
|"At Midnight They'll Get Wise"||2010||Hammer of the North|
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- "GRAND MAGUS: 'Sword Songs' Album Details Revealed". Blabbermouth.net. 2016-02-17. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
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- "Grand Magus: 'At Midnight They'll Get Wise' Video Released". Blabbermouth.net. 2010-10-22. Retrieved 2015-06-20.
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