The Sword - Age of Winters (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Sword

Age of Winters (2006)


The Sword comes from Austin, Texas.

Apparently they have Dungeons and Dragons in Austin.

That is not an insult.

After being one of the biggest buzz bands from last year's SXSW, the Sword have unleashed their beast of a debut album on us all by way of hip indie label Kemado. And beast it is. While most modern metal bands rely on genre to define their sound, the Sword are content with paying tribute to their obvious classic influences (Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden) while stirring up the same sort of fervor that High on Fire and Mastodon generated in the past two years. Believe you me: Age of Winters is the essential metal album of 2006.

The Sword manage to blast their way through sludge, stoner, thrash, and any other type of metal that you want to throw at them. And they'll do it while singing about demons and swords and shit. And they'll do it better than your favorite metal band.

Age of Winters is mainly comprised of ass-shredding dual guitar melodies reminiscent of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest (but not denying Buzz Osbourne's droning palm muting) while the bass hits a heavy low end like a good sludge or stoner band should. The drums range over any style that currently sutis the mood of the guitars. And expertly fill in not only the beat, but act as another weapon in this arsenal to be used expertly in this ultimate battle. Ahem. What I meant to say is that the drums function like another instrument, showing off with fills that fit in time perfectly with the moving riffs.

Standout tracks include "The Horned Goddess" with its soaring laid-back tempo and dreamy harmonies and "Iron Swan," which starts with acoustic classical music and moves into the major thrash riff on the album. Each song tops out at about five minutes, with "Lament for the Auroch" hitting nearly eight minutes, almost doubling the other tracks for longest track on the album. The main riff from "Lament for the Auroch" treads in "Iron Man" territory, stealing my award for Best Sabbath Riff 2006.

But what the fuck is the point of talking about individual tracks? This band fucking slays. That's all you need to know. A perfect album that works its way through so many metal riffs in just forty-three minutes that I almost feel like there's no point in listening to any other metal band. Almost.