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Age of Winters

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Reviews

Average Rating
★★★★☆
(68 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • I had read some reviews about this album and finally had to check it out for myself. Wow. This band has drawn a lot of comparisons to Black Sabbath, and while the huge riffs of early Sabbath are there, I would draw a closer comparison to Sleep or Pentagram. I can dig crazy guitar theatrics or over-the-top screaming vocals, but for the most part, when I want to seriously rock out I just want HUGE skull-crushing riffs. And The Sword has ‘em. You can keep your moshtastic breakdowns and shredding guitar solos. I’ll take The Sword. If you own Sleep’s “Holy Mountain,” any of the first 6 Sabbath albums, anything by Pentagram…you need this disc.

    Posted on January 8, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • The Sword is the anomaly you’ve been waiting for: a metal album by nerds who rock huge. Many would-be lovers of heavy metal are put off by the reigning machismo and anti-intellectualism of so many of the genre’s dominant bands. (To say nothing of the fans: nowhere is the bottom 10% of your high-school’s graduating class so well represented as at a Slayer show.) But when the alternatives to this aggressive dumbness are the inacessibility of avant-garde heaviness-for-heaviness’s sake (Sunn O)))) or “music” by and for postapocalyptic cyborgs (Dillinger Escape Plan, Meshuggah) the thoughtful headbanger starts to wonder, “Is there no band that will satisfy both my wizard AND my warrior?”

    The Sword is this band. Many reviewers have praised The Sword’s Promethean gift of riffs, which will keep me playing air guitar for years to come. But the rare pleasure here is the lyrics. Anybody can churn out rhymes based on pop fantasy and SF, but it takes just a little more energy to quote W. B. Yeats in your liner notes. Just a gimmick to catch college English majors with the honey of literary canonicity? Mabye. But these lyrics deliver on the promise of this epigraph, offering an album-length elegy for make-believe times past. In a scene where most lyricists lack the time to read books because they’re too busy lifting weights or watching NASCAR, The Sword’s willingness to send you to the dictionary (sibyl, aurochs) and remind you how much of your vocabulary you learned from Dungeons and Dragons (dais, vorpal) is as refreshing as a wind from the forbidden mountains of the Goblin-King.

    Posted on January 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I love heavy music, but when you hear something that might strike up some interest and then the singer starts screaming his guts out, it’s a complete turn off. What ever happened to good, hard, stripped down metal riffs and vocals. Finally a band that actually gets it. I heard The Sword a few months ago on a comcast music channel and immediatly went out and bought the cd. It’s been stuck in my cd player ever since. Last night I drove 3 hours to see them live and it was worth every mile. Alot of people have complained about the vocals on this album, but fot me this was one of the selling points. I’d love to cram the mic down the throat of some of these idiots that do nothing but scream through every song. To me that takes alot away from the music. Heres a frontman who dosnt try to overshadow the instruments with an annoying singing voice. Sure, they sound like Sabbath, but I’m in my 20s and thank god somebody from my generation wants to bring some Sabbath-type metal to modern times. Dont forget, this band just formed 2 years ago and this is their first album, their not rich, so to all of you leaving reviews complanining about recording and sound quality, maybe you should stick with bands that have been out for a while. Support The Sword and bring metal back to where it should be.

    Posted on January 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I tend to be a picky listener and I don’t always like a band until I’ve heard them a few times. (Opeth and Coheed & Cambria come to mind.) But from the instant I sat down with The Sword’s latest, I was hooked. The riffs, my God, the riffs! These guys come out of the gate swinging their vorpal blades hard. And AGE OF WINTERS combines terrific songs (no weak ones in the litter) with clear, heavy production.

    Extra credit for the Scandinavian myth-inspired lyrics and the Art Nouveau cover design. I strongly recommend this album. Get it; you absolutely won’t be sorry.

    Posted on January 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • There hasn’t been an album which is this bursting at the seems with huge, super heavy, rumbling, meaty, crushing, Sabbath-inspired, fret board smoking riffs since Mastodon’s “Leviathan” was released in August of 2004. Frontman J.D. Cronise sings melodically (almost in an Ozzy Osbourne-esque tone), so he sometimes takes away from this Austin based band’s intensity. But, luckily, the punch the guitars pack is definitely powerful, visceral, and great enough to make up for the vocals. The riffs cascade, groove, and storm like tumbling logs, and the rhythms crunch, crash, and flatten like a truckload of falling bricks and steel bars. The album begins with a brief instrumental (“Celestial Crown”), which has pounding, lumbering riffs. That song is mid-tempo, but some songs, like “Freya” and “The Horned Goddess,” are blistering, with speedy, churning guitars (plus, the latter track also has a mini guitar solo.) Track six, “Iron Swan” begins with soft strumming and percussion rattles before rocketing into a fast, propulsive guitar lead and eventually segueing into crunchy, punching riffs. But this disc’s best track is probably the epic, very Mastodon-esque instrumental, “March of the Lor.” According to the C.D. booklet, this instrumental is divided into eight “movements” (parts). Even if one or two songs get to be kind of repetitive, it only makes sense that the guitarists (Kyle Shutt and the aforementioned frontman J.D. Cronise) would have to recycle a couple riffs when the album is this full of them. All in all, “Age Of Winters” is easily the best doom metal C.D. of the past year and a half, and it is absolutely essential for everybody who enjoys the genre, as well as fans of Black Sabbath, High On Fire, and Mastodon.

    Posted on January 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now