The Sword - Age Of Winters - 2006 - Kemado Records
Track Listing1. Celestial Crown 2. Barael's Blade 3. Freya 4. Winter's Wolves 5. The Horned Goddess 6. Iron Swan 7. Lament For The Aurochs 8. March Of The Lor 9. Ebethron
Texas youngsters The Sword light it up and bring it home with their solid debut outing entitled "Age Of Winters". Many folks within the metal circles are calling this "irony rock" or "meta-metal". It seems like acts such as these are encouraging heavy metal effort within the indy rock community. This hipster metal is bringing in loads of average music listeners, most of which are not tuned to this sort of bombastic, wailing wattage. Most of these bands are actually made from indy rock musicians, which goes one step further in filling the crowds with "non-metal" listeners. Hopefully throwback groups like The Sword, Dungen, Early Man, and Fireball Ministry will help ignite a firestorm within that circle and help unite and provoke a metal movement. If bands like The Sword are a result of this hybrid fashion, then the future is very bright indeed.
Based out of Austin and founded by singer/guitarist J.D. Cronise, The Sword is the newest roster addition for Kemado Records. The band was signed after Lamb Of God guitarist Mark Morton passed the label a four song demo put together by the band. Cronise claims that this album is inspired by Mastodon, with their retro sound incorporating huge doomy passages mixed with a solid blues foundation, and stirred up with the backbone of heavy metal riffage, Black Sabbath. This nine track full-length debut is a crushing assault on all senses, really hitting it's stride and high water mark with effective and well constructed groove riffs. Axemen Cronise and Shutt combine on some fantastic lead playing, recalling the fine moments from other doom staples like Cathedral, Place Of Skulls, and even the southern fried charm of Corrosion Of Conformity. Vocally, Cronise is somewhat middle of the road, never really achieving a quality sound that would be memorable or unforgettable. In those terms, the band would be better suited with a better frontman in my opinion. Musically, however, the band is simply a powerhouse.
Cuts like "Barael's Blade" and "Winter Wolves" possess huge, backbreaking groove passages that are woven with twin guitar harmony and a good sense of blues riffing. The band becomes a well oiled, speedy machine on firestorms like "Iron Swan" and "March Of Lor", with those tracks displaying fast drum patterns and Metallica's early new wave inspired riffs. Lyrically the band is deeply set in fantasy and mythology, with most cuts taken from Cronise's love for Robert Howard (Conan) and Dungeons And Dragons.
Bottom Line - A fantastic doom offering that should please fans of Cathedral, Place Of Skulls, Early Man, The Obsessed, and Black Sabbath.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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