Reviews The Sword Gods of the Earth

The Sword

Gods of the Earth

The Sword is probably the first band to ever see their career catapulted thanks to a video game. Sure, lots of bands have had their songs featured as part of the soundtrack to a game, but none were an integral part of the game as “Freya” was to Guitar Hero II. This isn’t to discredit The Sword as they are talented individuals and write some damn good heavy metal. On the other hand, the Austin-based metalheads were mainly popular among in-the-know Hessians, but the mainstream hadn’t a clue about The Sword. This all changed with the game, and as a result Age of Winters became a huge success. Doubt me? The is about to head to Europe with Metallica and Down…

Gods of the Earth is The Sword’s follow-up to their breakout debut. Two years time has passed but these four individuals are still serving up the tunes, and in heavy doses. “The Sundering” opens with the use of an acoustic guitar, but quickly hits with bludgeoning riffs, thundering bass, and galloping drums. The instrumental is the perfect intro for the modernized Sabbath riffage that is about to follow. “The Frost-Giant’s Daughter,” like the rest of the album, is a foray into the world of classic heavy metal, but with more speed and dare I say, louder.

The Sword’s most admirable and identifiable characteristic is the guitar duo of John D. Cronise and Kyle Shutt. The two riff-masters have assembled song after song of classic metal licks, driving riffs, as well as the occasional flair for melody and solos. These two are well-oiled machines when it comes to the ol’ guitar. “To Take the Black” highlights their abilities as its meshes together the use of melodious acoustics as well as monstrous crunching riffs. Occasionally the band throws out a little jam session, something that might be further expanded upon in a live setting, much like their cohorts in Clutch. And then there is the seven-plus minute instrumental, “The White Sea,” that closes out the album with minute after minute of headbanging goodness.

Partnered with the shredding is the more than adequate rhythm section of Trivett Wingo and Bryan Richie. The music is packaged together with Cronise’ soaring harmonies, the perfect compliment to the band’s retro metal vibe.

Gods of the Earth is an excellent follow-up to The Sword’s debut offering, although I must state that there is a slight lacking in cohesiveness. While individually the songs are excellent, the album does lack that overall flow that makes a really good album fall short of being fantastic. Nevertheless, The Sword has delivered and they’re well on their way to become one of metal’s most recognized bands.

8.0 / 10Michael
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Kemado

2008

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