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Truly epochal. - 98%

Empyreal, October 15th, 2009

Doomsword are one of the finest metal bands to ever walk the Earth. This statement is one I will defend vehemently, and how better to do so than with a hulking, triumphant and kingly slab of molten fucking steel like Let Battle Commence on my side? Yes, this is perhaps the greatest aid of everyone who fights in the name of Heavy fucking Metal, a giant metaphorical broadsword to the nads of every poser who ever lived, and quite a somber and exquisite experience, at that. A great double-headed axe to the heads of those who worship at the altar of false metal and a hymn to fallen Viking warriors on a blooded battlefield aeons away, both at the same time. What exactly is so good about this mighty album? Well, put on your helmets, don your chain mail, rally the troops and let's dig in!

The musical base of Let Battle Commence is one of massive riffs, Earth-shaking leads and triumphant, proud battle cries over it all. It's technically a Doom Metal sound, but really it's sped up to more of a Traditional Heavy Metal one, without the sort of fuzzy, drugged-out groove of a lot of Doom bands and more of a tendency to just skip the bullshit and play heavy, riff-driven songs. The guitar tone is great; meaty, heavy as a hammer and louder than hell. It’s so thick that it’s just about got a fur coat over it. The drums are huge, the bass is murky and distorted to a fine, Earthly breath and the vocals are awesome – limited, yes, but they’re just so deep and barbaric, yet also classy and prideful that they become great.

Throughout the duration of Let Battle Commence, Doomsword crafts sweeping, epic landscapes of metallic sound and makes them work, and the result is something so passionate and enflamed with patriotic triumph that its beauty is unnatural in its pristine clarity. I mean, good fucking god. It wasn’t enough for them to write some of the greatest doom riffs since Pentagram and Sabbath penned their drugged out odes. This band went the extra mile and wove them together with wistful, misty Pagan melodies that are subtle, but crafted really well, and played with pomp and pride. The epic scope here is just enormous, and I go on a lot longer about it, but it wouldn’t do this material justice, not in the least. Just listen to the pounding opening war-march of “Heathen Tribes,” or the massively gratifying, exhilarating stomp of “Wodan’s Reign,” or the beautiful title track, and tell me that isn’t some of the best metal you’ve ever heard. Just try it.

This is metal for the mature. Listen to it, headbang to it, relish in its glory.

Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com

Ah! I'm standing in the middle of the battlefield! - 98%

Evilbone, July 1st, 2005

That was what I thought while listening to this album for the first time. Doomsword’s “Let Battle Commence” is an epic masterpiece and a must-have for fans of epic/viking lyrics. Everything about it is just perfect. The CD comes in a nicely made Digipack and the cover has a beautiful painting of a leader on a horse who seems to be commanding a Viking horde. Even the booklet was done with much effort.

On this album there isn’t even a single song I dislike. I love them all. A few parts are so beautiful to listen to, that they always send chills down my spine. The songs are not fast, but catchy as hell. The vocals are excellent and they perfectly fit the music. Deathmaster is expressing all his emotion through the vocals. The lyrics are very well written and totally clean. The songs are about the Vikings invading England, and Deathmaster is singing from the point of view of a Viking warrior most of the time. With their awesome and bone-crushing riffs, the guitarists and the bassist make sure that this album never gets boring. There’s nothing bad to say about the drumming too. You can hear the bass drum very well and I like that. There are some nice background sounds that make the album even better (i.e. Running horses, Viking horns…). The production is good and clean, the sound quality is just right.

I can’t really say what other bands are similar to Doomsword, they are unique. The album that comes the nearest to this is probably Candlemass - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. But “Let Battle Commence” is much better in my opinion. Doomsword are known as a Doom Metal band, but trust me, don’t be afraid to buy this even if you don’t like Doom. I wasn’t into Doom at all when I got this album and I immediately loved it anyway. It sounds nothing like the boring Drone or Funeral Doom. I can only recommend this. Believe it or not, but “Let Battle Commence” is probably one of my favourite metal albums of all time. Doomsword did a very nice job on this album.

Does just what it says on the tin..... - 88%

byblion, October 29th, 2004

So. What you have in your hands is a digipak CD. It’s by a band called Doomsword and it’s called ‘Let Battle Commence’. The cover has a painting of a belligerent-looking Viking kind of bloke, the songs have titles like ‘Heathen Assault’ and ‘Woden’s Reign’, and the band members have names like Deathmaster and Wrathlord. You read the lyrics and there’s stuff along the lines of ‘The sound of battle horns prepares the storm, Death is coming dressed as a pagan horde’ and ‘I awaited for this glorious moment, I can now enter the fortress crying the charge. My axe cuts some English heads while the city of Jorvik cries its swansong. Captured is the king! Odin guide my sword!’.

Think carefully…now what do you reckon the music might sound like? Got it in one. Suffice to say that if you’re looking for subtlety, sophistication, and postmodern irony you’ve come to the wrong place, bud. The overused word ‘Epic’ springs to mind and stays there, because that is, well, what this music is. Mid-paced, ponderous riffing, operatic vocals, the occasional choir, samples of battle horns, cawing crows etc. etc.

Doomsword’s music is predictable, corny and clichéd, with more than a little cheese in the recipe but, and get this, ‘Let Battle Commence’ is a fantastic CD. The band stride through these tales of battle and death with majesty and confidence, and total commitment. The vocals, by Deathmaster (not his real name?), are excellent, and the whole album is a virtuoso masterclass in metal singing. Rather more Candlemassy than Sabbathy, his soaring voice expresses real emotion in a convincing way. Every musician plays his part with belief – the lead guitar is stellar in places – and this seething stew is complemented by a very strong production which has invested the band’s sound with real power and relentless momentum.

There’s not a weak song on the album, though my personal favourites are ‘Heathen Assault’ (beautiful singing, affecting melody) and ‘My Name Will Live On’ which sends goose pimples up my spine. Music like this depends so much on creating and sustaining atmosphere (without which it is just laughable), and a large part of Doomsword’s artistry consists in succeeding in doing this, so the listener does suspend disbelief and surrender to the tale being told.

I would come out with the old line about this CD appealing only to fans of blah,blah,blah……(you know the names), but the fact is that I myself don’t usually listen to this sort of music because I find it so hard to take seriously. I picked up this CD on an impulse, for a change from my usual fare of more clever-clever stuff, and from the first song was drawn into Doomsword’s world. If I had a bloody axe I’d raise it to the heathen skies and salute Odin, but I’ll have to make do with my two thumbs. Nice one, Doomsword, you’ll make a Viking of me yet!

Their Name Will Live On - 100%

TheIVthCrusade, July 6th, 2004

I don't hide that I approached DoomSword with the fear of another Italian epic metal band that wants to sound like the next Manowar or Manilla Road. Thankfully I was wrong. DoomSword's "Let Battle Commence" is perhaps the most epic album I have listened to for the past months. Big, muddy songs with a very underground production that helps the album to show off even more, very good rhythm section, and of course DeathMaster's deep vocals that remind the viking era as those Italian's want.

The album is an apology of one of the few Viking triumphs against the christians. It's about King Ivarr the Boneless' assault in the british ground of York. Since DoomSword are with the Vikings this was a cool reason to make the album sound even darker. As DeathMaster has said in interviews, the facts are kinda different, since the battle wasn't all that epic and that the only real fact is the Blood Eagle ritual, the way the defeated British King Aella died by Ivarr. DoomSword just made everything more epic. "As the christians used to do, we changed the facts a bit and made the story sound like the last drop of blood gave the victory to the heathens." DeathMaster said so in that interview.

In the acoustic part of the album now, it starts off with Heathen Assault, a song that symbolizes the first Longboat that reached York that day.

In The Battlefield is the song that storms the listener the most, it's hard guitars and passionate vocals give you the idea that you are in the battle too. It starts with the sound of a Viking battle horn and the rhythm guitar with a solid riff that breaks bones. The epic lyrics and the sound effects, such as the ram hitting the English gate, or the Viking army charging with the sounds of the horns really are sheer glory in my ears.

Woden's Reign is about King Aella, a song that DoomSword show how much they are influenced by Candlemass. Deathbringer is he most "ballad" like song and The Siege is about the siege in front of the castle.

Blood Eagle, is the most pagan song of all, talking about the fearsome ritual that many think that is just a Viking folk lie, even though there are scriptures and an ancient Scandinabian elegy that confirm Aella's death by Ivarr by that way.

Quorthon (R.I.P.) would be very proud for this song. It's the lasy song of the album, serious and majestic, suited for a King and it finishes the album with only but excellent comments about this DoomSword album. Definitely a must for every epic metal fan.

"Real warrior spirit" - 92%

Voice_of_Unreason, November 14th, 2003

Being new to Doomsword I approached this release with a fair amount of expectation in the hope that it could save what has been a pretty crappy year for me album-wise, and behold! Doomsword are everything they have been made out to be and more.

In contrast to the mournful doom of My Dying Bride, or the atmospheric doom of Isis Doomsword play Epic doom with a capital E. This album is tied together with a concept based on the Viking siege of York in 866 so we are treated to the sounds of fire, crows, battle and marching as well as the usual metal assault. Let battle Commence is comprised of seven songs ranging in length from four to eight minutes (most are closer to eight) but they don’t wind and meander in the fashion of many long song writing bands, but strut their stuff with an air of powerful purpose which is only heightened by the theme of Pagans killing Christians within their own borders.

The music itself is pitched somewhere between Candlemass and Bathory (Viking era surprisingly) with plenty of nods to the NWOBHM and more modern bands like Solstice. “Heathen assault” begins with folky acoustic guitar and low sung vocals before charging straight into mid-paced crushing riffage and a rousing chorus of “Burn England to the ground!” The bands ability to craft memorable riffs and vocal lines is one of their great strengths, even after a single listen you feel like the melodies are familiar and before long you find yourself singing along. This could imply that the album yields all it’s secrets upon first or second listen but I am spinning it for what must be the tenth time as I write and the freshness is still there, I suppose only time will tell if it lasts.

Each song charts a different part of the conflict from the siege to the execution of the enemy king (oh no I gave away the end) and the accompanying music shifts tone with the theme. For the opening battle we have faster riffs which conjure images of the charge, whilst when the perspective switches to tell the story of the approaching hoard from the defenders point of view the music again uses quiet interludes and is sorrowful and downbeat. The songs themselves follow simple structures but always seem to save the best for last so that when you think it is coming to an end a great riff or lead smashes you in the face and commands your attention.

Reports I’ve heard have told that the production on the previous Doomsword albums were somewhat lacking but if that was the case they certainly sorted out the problem here. The guitars are crisp and punishing, drums have a very full sound and the Bass gives the riffs some real heft in the heavy sections. Another great point should be made about the vocals that are (mercifully) not too loud in the mix. Deathmaster does an admirable job, his clean vocals providing a great delivery for the lyrics but if they were overpowering I’m certain they would lose some of their appeal.

Let battle commence is a triumphant album which will surely raise Doomsword to the status of their influences, it has a real warrior spirit at it’s core and stimulates emotions to often overlooked by the to-cool-for-school modern metal crew who prefer to show of how extreme/crazy/technical they are than write really stirring music. This will surely be making my “best of year” position unless something really spectacular comes along. Metal needs bands like Doomsword to point the way