Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Grand Magus + Primitai - London Underworld - 3rd March 2013

And now I'm back with a new live review after a splendid weekend in Essex and London. Now I bring you a review of the final night of Grand Magus' 2013 tour, culminating in a packed headlining show at the underworld. Read on, and enjoy...

Grand Magus are a band that in my opinion are hard to dislike simply due to the fact that they tick all the right boxes. Do they hail from a country well known for  metal? Check (In their case, Sweden). Wicked riffs and shredding solos? Check. Pounding Bass lines? Check. Great drumming? Check. Powerful and soaring vocals? Check. Luxurious beards? Check.

Especially when the high calibre of their last 3 albums is taken into consideration, it seems that JB, Fox and Ludwig can do no wrong. And after seeing them tear the Underworld a new arsehole last night I must say I stand by that statement 100%.

Arriving at the venue I could tell this was due to be a big night for the band, this being the final date on the tour and people from all over London and the South-East pouring into the underworld to see Grand Magus bring the house down. I've been wanting to see this band again from the moment I saw them at Bloodstock 2012. And tonight I get my wish. But first, the support bands...

Diesel King (6) are an upcoming sludge band from London and have been chosen as the opening act for the night. The band seem to play well as a unit, and while undeniably heavy and crushing, two very good traits for a sludge band, the music gets old fairly quickly as each song consists of only 2, perhaps 3 riffs at the most, becoming repetitive fast. Regardless of those points, they're enjoyable enough.

Me with Guy from Primitai \m/
Up next are a group of young hopefuls I've been following ever since catching them on the new blood stage at Bloodstock 2011. Berkshire heavy metal titans Primitai (9) have direct support to Grand Magus for the entire UK tour and seem to get better and better every time I see them. New guitarist Tom Draper can shred with the best of them and fits in brilliantly alongside fellow guitarist Srdjan Bilic. Vocalist Guy Miller is great at interacting with the crowd as always and belts out his parts to the best of his ability. Tracks like "Degeneration" and "The Line Of Fire" go down spectacularly with the crowd and I can definitely see a few new fans when the band leaves the stage.

Me with "Streetcat Bob"
Between bands I decided to ascend to street level to enjoy a cigarette when I encountered one of the strangest things I have ever seen at a gig, even more strange than a homeless woman threatening to piss in my friend's face the last time I was at the Underworld. It was a man with a stray ginger cat perched on his shoulder like a parrot. And no, I'm not making this up. The streetcat was called Bob to top it all off, and as it happens he was rather a famous cat. I'm not going into any more detail though, I'm merely going to include a picture and say that if you want to know anything else you should check out his and his owner James' Facebook page here. Safe to say it made the evening even more interesting than it already was, especially when I spotted the pair downstairs at the gig later, with Bob still perched on his owner's shoulders.

Soon after, it was time for the evening's main event. As 3 hairy swedes wearing lots of  denim and spikes took to the stage, we all knew exactly what was going to happen. After touring almost non stop through the UK and Europe for the last few months you would think the JB and the guys would have lost some of their steam, but I can safely say the following to anyone that might think that - Fuck off have they!!!

Grand Magus (10) are still kicking as much arse on the last night of their tour as the first. Tearing through tune after tune, the magnificent Swedes show no sign of letting up and are clearly on the form of their career. JB can riff like an absolute maniac and can still hit every high note flawlessly and with some admirable power. Fox is all too happy to play those rumbling basslines everyone loves, and Ludwig's drum solo in the middle of the set, featuring some wonderful jazz inspired crossover techniques, is awe-inspiring. In terms of songs, the set is full of new tunes mixed in with favourites stretching back all the way to 2005's "Wolf's Return", also encompassing tunes from 2008's "Iron Will" and 2010's masterpiece "Hammer Of The North". The crowd adore every song played and the evening is full of shouted choruses and fist pumping from start to finish. Every single person there is an avid fan and I don't fail to see a single person who isn't singing throughout.

Particular crowd favourites seem to be newer hits "Sword Of The Ocean" and "Starlight Slaughter" along with old classics "I, The Jury", "Silver Into Steel", bass driven monster "Ravens Guide Our Way" and of course the band's signature hit "Hammer Of The North". That track in particular always gets an insane reaction from the crowd, and to get the reaction it did on this, the band's first headlining show at the Underworld, clearly made them very happy.

Completely satisfied, my friends and I began to make our way home, another gig over with and another night we would never forget. As well as getting a fucking cool signed tour poster for merch and a setlist, we met some rather interesting people from Kent on the tube home. Just goes to show that anything can happen at a metal gig in London on a Sunday night. \m/

Grand Magus Setlist:

1. Kingslayer
2. Sword Of The Ocean
3. I, The Jury
4. Ravens Guide Our Way
5. Silver Into Steel
6. Starlight Slaughter
7. Wolf's Return
8. Like The Oar Strikes The Water
9. The Hunt
10. Valhalla Rising
11. Iron Will
12. Hammer Of The North

The Hunt is out now on Nuclear Blast Records

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