Reviews The Sword Age of Winters

The Sword

Age of Winters

Wow, talk about under the radar. Friends of mine have been telling me about this band for sometime, including IDB's (Industry Douche Bags) at that. So, I was a bit skeptical. Plus these guys are from the Texas. So, again anything that comes from the country of Texas is suspect (see the Vanilla Ice debacle for proof). When The Sword forced me to do an aural double take, I almost pulled an Ozzy on the Alamo. These kids have written one of the best Black Sabbath albums since Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. It is downright shocking. The guitar tone is even reminiscent, albeit a bit beefier due to modern production methods, of the classic Sabbath sound. It is eerie. It is awesome.

Age of Winters is almost a perfect record. The production is crisp, clean, and even, though a little more bass would be more to my taste. There is a ton of feeling in the playing. The imagery by the lyrics is great. "May Your Axes Chip and Shatter." Yes, that line is lifted for the most part from Frank Herbert's Dune novel; but it more than works. The fantasy imagery is well done and not hokey or cheesy sounding. There is no fluff or filler on the record at all. I like this so much that I could do a song by song run down of the album.

"Celestial Crown" is an instrumental opener. It helps to build anticipation for what is to come without revealing all of the cards in The Sword's hand. It flows seamlessly into the next song, "Barael's Blade". This song has a crazy groove. The vocals are mostly sung in an almost spoken word like rhythm. The grooving rhythms do not stop there. "Freya" has an equally punishing rhythm to it. There is also a subtle panning guitar part that adds a neat effect to it.

"Winter's Wolves" lays down a chugging rhythm that puts any E chord (or dropped D) warriors to shame. The Sword doesn't let up in their aural attack. The wolf calls rule, seriously. "The Horned Goddess" is a bit slower in pace, but the passionate fury remains intense. If there was more bass in the mix of this song, the bass drops would be absolutely off the wall. "Iron Swan" starts super mellow. It is a nice change of pace at just the right time. When it kicks in, the song is a flat out Sabbath thrash that breaks into an awesome melodic guitar part. There is a dead stop, and then the band jumps in even more furiously than before the break. As you listen to the thumping gallop, you start to realize that these guys know what they are doing. "Lament for the Aurochs" has these odd, purposeful skips or stutters in the beginning before laying out some of the marrow of the song. The slowed down music fits with the vocal arrangement very well. The length of the song is not a hindrance as it is has a bit of a jam feel to it.

"March of the Lor" starts a bit quieter before the hard riffing begins. The wailing guitars are pretty sweet sounding and are not overused (they are done to just the right length in fact). "Ebethron" is the final song on Age of Winters. It starts out super rock n roll after some wind blowing sound effects. It is a scorcher of a song. It keeps the album moving straight to the drum break (a surprise, but fitting considering the nature of the song). The band then jumps back in to end the record on a great up note. No fade outs were allowed during this recording.

Seriously, Age of Winters is a great record from start to finish. I hate the idea that this recording is more or less their demo released as an album. Imagine what The Sword would be capable of with a bigger recording budget in a bigger studio. Though, that minimalistic recording budget kind of aided the sound of urgency on the first couple of Black Sabbath records. Maybe the same approach would work for them. Do yourself a favor. If you like Sabbath (and you are insane if you do not), pick up this album. Go find it. Listen to it. Become obsessed. Get ready for The Sword to take over the world.

8.5 / 10Bob
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Kemado

2006

8.5 / 10

8.5 / 10

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