by Cosmo Lee

Some records are so metal that one has no choice but to genuflect before them. Iron Will (Rise Above, 2008) is one such record. Janne Christoffersson is the vocalist for Spiritual Beggars, the retro rock project of Arch Enemy guitarist Michael Amott. In Grand Magus, Christoffersson sings and slings a mean axe himself. In fact, he’s got some of the best riffs in the biz. Lumbering doom, Viking pageantry, traditional metal – the guy can do it all. Iron Will could have come out 20 years ago, and it would still hold up today. This kind of metal doesn’t go out of style, especially with songs this strong. Try not to bang your head to “Iron Will” – it’s impossible. When Christoffersson booms, LIKE THE OAR STRIKES THE WATER, damned if I don’t want to head for the nearest longboat pronto. One can practically smell the leather tanning. Beowulf metal doesn’t get much better than this.

Like the Oar Strikes the Water
Iron Will

Rise Above (CD)
Rise Above (vinyl)