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Italy's Doomsword is really one of those new bands playing kinda older style of heavy metal, but without all the sucky elements of it. I think we all know Hammerfall, which listens like a collection of 80's cliches. Now, coming all the way from a country notorious for being home of a few mainstream bands shitting on metal genre whilst pretending to be a part of it (Lacuna Coil and the like) it sure does come of as a surprise as this band manages to pull off something that isn't really revolutionary sound-wise, but it manages to completely rule. The site lists the band as a mix of heavy and doom metal with an epic edge to it, and I would say it's as accurate as it gets. There is a big Manowar reference here, old school heavy metal sprinkle there, and it's all spiced up with bits of slow acoustic sections reminiscent of Candlemass. Sounds good, does it not? I mean, it's also executed quite well, especially for a debut album. There are a few silly moments (we'll get to that later), but otherwise it's a pretty good album that will get your fist pumpin' and your head bangin' for the duration of it.
The opener, 'Sacred Metal' is a pretty anthemic song that will sure remain in the band's live set forever. The riff that drives the song is very slow and just defines the idea of Sabbath-meets-Candlemass. Also, I'd like to see anyone who listens to this refusing to sing the chorus, I dare you. It's infectious as a smallpox. 'Helm's Deep' has a fucking crushing riff and a double bass support. Oh yes, and that keyboard lick sounds so damn good and really complements the riff onslaught a lot. 'Nadsokor' is I believe a Cirith Ungol cover, but it's executed pretty good and has a very nice solo section. 'Swords of Doom' is to this date my favorite Doomsword song, for its magnificent verses, compelling chorus and a totally fucking unexpected speedup and solo section. The guitar work is done by Deathmaster, who in addition to playing the guitar also sings backup, but will later take over full vocal duties and will be the singer who the fans identify the band with. Which is a good thing really, because Nightcomer isn't really that good. He is alright, but isn't really dramatic as he is supposed to be on the songs like 'Sacred Metal' or 'Helm's Deep', something that won't be the problem on further Doomsword releases.
The album is far from perfect of course, there are quite a few lacking moments or the moments that are downright silly. Take the opener again, for example. That a-capella intro is good, as it shows the dramatic baritone voice of Deathmaster, but the lyrics are so vapid and cliche it borders on embarrasing. „I am your king, war I will bring, follow me or be my prey.“ What? Also, 'Helm's Deep' manages to be both a great and kinda annoying song. While it's going, it's absolutely fantastic. But it has that annoying and unnecessary spoken dialogue in the middle. I mean, we are all familiar with the story of the battle of Helm's deep, and even if we weren't, aren't you supposed to tell the story THROUGH the lyrics? By adding a stupid spoken part in the middle of a song all you are doing is disturbing the song's flow. The song bursts back into ass-kickery once again, but it leaves me a bad taste in my mouth.
The later Doomsword albums are where the band finally got their sound, so this doesn't really sound like them, or I think it would be more correct to say that the later albums don't really sound like this one. Still, it's a good album and a good starting point if you want to get into the band. Just don't expect speed. This is especially a warning for modern european power metal fans. There is no abuse of the double bass pedal, no flowery keyboards and no silly high pitched vocals. This is actually good stuff, mind you.
Doomsword’s s/t release is a behemoth of a freshman album. Think of it this way, if this was released about 10 years sooner, it would be in the same category as Candelmass’ Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, Cathedral’s The Ethereal Mirror or My Dying Bride’s 34.788%... Complete. It is that damn good. If you ponder the integrity of this album’s Metalness, consider that their music is often attributed to replicating sounds of the battlefield. Fucking Metal.
It is a perfect mixture of Doom and Folk, however not many bands have experimented with this, to my regret. Another very metal and unique characteristic about this band, during narrative breaks, which I will be the first to say, can get annoying at times (though are tastefully very occasional), the subdued sound of medieval battle is heard. It’s so simple yet so ingenious. If you’ve ever listened to Cirith Ungol, imagine them without the forced and sometimes almost awkward sounding vocals. Not taking anything away from Cirith Ungol, they kick ass none the less, I’m just saying that Doomsword perfected whatever they were inspired by, which is a great thing to have under your legacy *cough*Darkthrone*cough*.
The album and Doomsword’s style relies on several risky Doom Metal anomalies, such as using a distinct melody, which is a byproduct of their folk metal side, as opposed to the usually lazy attempt at making the melody absent to incur a despondent feeling from assholes that think they “get it” when music sounds slow and depressing. This Doom Metal album is not afraid to step up and play a guitar solo that if quickened 1.5 times and added back up drums to, could be mistaken for an old Slayer solo, as in the song,” Return To Imrryr.”
Another thing I noticed was that this album redefines or at least re-dictates what Doom Metal is supposed to be, which is a momentous achievement in itself. This genre is unnaturally plagued with morons that think they understand the music and know how to play it, so they make garage bands, record their shitty demos and post them on Myspace like the commercial sheep that they are. Doomsword make it know that you don’t have to play slow to be Doom Metal, they create a distinct atmosphere NOT using WMP to slow the recording down because you and your gay band mates think it was too fast to be an underground classic in 20 years, dipshits. Creating an atmosphere as opposed to slowing down a bit is what many self-proclaimed Doom Metal bands miss.
Doomsword are a band that makes their own rules and thus this album deserves the rating that it received. If you appreciate bands that don’t conform to the genre and make their own sound, perfectly fusing Doom and Folk for example, you have come to the right place.