Age Of Winters
7/21/2006 - Review by: Eric Compton
The Sword - Age Of Winters - 2006 - Kemado Records
Based out of Austin and founded by singer/guitarist J.D. Cronise, The Sword is the newest roster addition for Kemado Records. The band was signed after Lamb Of God guitarist Mark Morton passed the label a four song demo put together by the band. Cronise claims that this album is inspired by Mastodon, with their retro sound incorporating huge doomy passages mixed with a solid blues foundation, and stirred up with the backbone of heavy metal riffage, Black Sabbath. This nine track full-length debut is a crushing assault on all senses, really hitting it's stride and high water mark with effective and well constructed groove riffs. Axemen Cronise and Shutt combine on some fantastic lead playing, recalling the fine moments from other doom staples like Cathedral, Place Of Skulls, and even the southern fried charm of Corrosion Of Conformity. Vocally, Cronise is somewhat middle of the road, never really achieving a quality sound that would be memorable or unforgettable. In those terms, the band would be better suited with a better frontman in my opinion. Musically, however, the band is simply a powerhouse.
Cuts like "Barael's Blade" and "Winter Wolves" possess huge, backbreaking groove passages that are woven with twin guitar harmony and a good sense of blues riffing. The band becomes a well oiled, speedy machine on firestorms like "Iron Swan" and "March Of Lor", with those tracks displaying fast drum patterns and Metallica's early new wave inspired riffs. Lyrically the band is deeply set in fantasy and mythology, with most cuts taken from Cronise's love for Robert Howard (Conan) and Dungeons And Dragons.
Bottom Line - A fantastic doom offering that should please fans of Cathedral, Place Of Skulls, Early Man, The Obsessed, and Black Sabbath.
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