In 2008, it was said that the 1970s were coming back. Tabloid newspapers were printing things about "the spectre of STAGFLATION" in drippy, scary fonts. Trade unions were starting to make noises. Economists were predicting doom and gloom. We in Britain were ruled by a Labour government that was long past its sell-by-date, pissed our money up the wall, was precariously unstable, and seemed to have no idea what it's doing. The best-selling film of the year features songs by Abba, and people were actually excited about the next James Bond film, which is tipped to actually be good. In fashion, people were wearing wedge heels and big, chunky belts that haven't been seen since the 1970s, and a lot of things were turning brown in the world of aesthetics in general. They were even changing the voting rules at the Eurovision Song Contest!
And the latest trend to emerge from the world of heavy metal sounded like it originated in that decade.
I am, of course, referring to the band Grand Magus and, in particular, their 1978, sorry, 2008, album "Iron Will." Though it could well have emerged from 1978, as could Grand Magus themselves. They began their career playing stony, sludgy, blues-inspired stodge reminiscent of the original way a certain reality TV star got into the public consciousness, and from there have grown into a fully-fledged 70sesque metal band.
Seriously. Their song "Fear is the Key" could have been done originally by Rainbow when they still had Ronnie James Dio (I am now obliged to say, "RIP metal brother" here.) "Silver Into Steel" has elements of "Stargazers" about it, with its slow, stomping riffs and big, leather-lunged chorus, whereas live favourite "Like the Oar Strikes The Water," which vocalist JB, at Bloodstock in 2008, dedicated to Britain's Olympic rowers, might as well be a Judas Priest cover. And the final song on the album, "I Am The North," is something big and chunky with all of one riff, but what a riff! "Smoke on the Water" barely beats it. The fact it is about the battle of Ragnarok adds extra lashings of awesome to it.
Grand Magus started off as a stoner band, of all things, and early Grand Magus isn't too dissimilar to Acid Bath or Scissorfight. However, they seem to have moved into squarely 70s metal territory since then, although they keep their slightly stony trappings at times, notably on songs like "Kingslayer" and "Self Deceiver."
I have seen them live also, and it was certainly an enjoyable experience. No bollox, just anthemic, chunky riffs and jet-engine vocals. Even non-metalheads can get into them - I almost converted my mother, who listens to Radio 2, on one occasion with Grand Magus. I was unsuccessfuly, but she later was exposed to Korpiklaani and liked them suitably.
(Node 15 of my 30 IRON NODES. Sorry for the slackness; I've had things on recently and am reduced to tarting up half-finished nodes from the past).