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Age of Winters

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Average Rating
★★★★☆
(68 Reviews)

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  • 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