Sword
"Age of Winters"

(Kemado Records 2006)Sword - Age of Winters

With artwork done by "...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead's Conrad Keely, it seems this Austin, Texas, band has all the right connections to get some attention on the indie rock scene. But with the Sword's well-tuned heavy metal meets stoner rock sound, they are garnering significant interest all on their own. Heavy instrumentation pulses and charges throughout "Age of Winters" while dominating riffs will likely be replaying themselves in your head for days to come.

Cymbals crash throughout "Barael's Blade" as the pulsing rhythm seeps into your brain. The Sword balance "Freya" with stiff, pounding guitar riffs and a fluid guitar solo before "Winter's Wolves" comes charging in, pulling you along by the seat of your pants with driving instrumentation. With "The Horned Goddess," the Sword start with slow, thumping riffs and quickly gain momentum, morphing the song into a loose jam that bounces roughly and then pulls in, tightening the rhythm. But it is not until the chugging riffs on "Iron Swan," speeding like a death metal Mötorhead meets Judas Priest, and the grinding instrumentation on "Lament for the Aurochs," where the rough rhythm snaps back slowly like a high tension spring, that Sword really seems to kick it into gear.

While not quite harnessing the heaviness or the power of Sleep or metal favorites like High On Fire, the Sword's driving and heavy instrumentation chugs unstoppably throughout "Age of Winters." The Sword keep their instrumental parts interesting, never over developing them or repeating too much.

A-

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