are the days when the mystical lands of warriors and dragons were
banished to dingy basements only to be divvied up between pubescent
boys covered in acne. While those boys grew up, a whole new set of
diversions kept those lands far less traveled, but never forgotten.
They would remain dormant until an introduction into chemically altered
states and shameless heavy-metal binges would produce something
stunning. Call it stoner rock, call it doom metal, call it whatever you
want. It has allowed many dragon slayers to gallop alongside a new
generation of head-bangers. And with the thunder of each power chord,
bands such as the Sword are changing all twelve sides of the dice.
though the members of Austin, Texas’s the Sword are new comers to the
party, they didn’t come empty handed. The slushy grooves from this
four-pack of solid musicians hit at just the right time. Age Of Winters
is the kind of first impression that needs to be made when crashing a
party that’s already jumping: heavy, bold and impressive.
From the beginning of the album, it’s clear that these boys approached Age Of Winters as
one solid piece. From the anticipation of instrumental opener
“Celestial Crown” to the furious explosion of its counterpart,
“Bareal’s Blade,” the album flows almost seamlessly through
head-banging rhythms and cerebral grooves. The quartet works smoothly,
acting as one unit to create rhythms so deep that I found myself
sitting shotgun to their stories of battle and triumph: “Can’t you see
what you have brought here? Many battles will be fought here. May the
mountains rise against, may the forest stalk your path, may your
actions dip in shadow, knowing it’s my wrath” (“Winter’s Wolves”).
Far of from the kitsch that the Darkness
imprinted on the mainstream revival of ’70s metal and not as doomful in
tone as indie barons Mastodon, the Sword plays in it’s own world.
Comparisons can be drawn to bands such as Wolfmother because of the
fanciful content and pounding rhythms, but the members of the Sword
command respect through their strong songwriting. This genre is growing
thicker by the minute, and navigating your way through the smoke can be
difficult, but the Sword is a worthy stop along the journey.
“Iron Swan” MP3 (Right Click Save As)