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Lo, the Horn resounds, and Italian true-metallers Doomsword ride out to battle again. Fans of classic, doom, and epic metal alike take heed; this band is for you!
Three years have passed since Doomsword released their self-titled debut, an amazing slab of classic doom metal influenced by legendary acts such as Warlord, Cirith Ungol, Manilla Road, Candlemass, Bathory, and INTO GLORY RIDE-era Manowar. Since then, the band underwent a massive remodeling, coming back with a new line-up with only Deathmaster (vocals, guitars on the s/t) and Dark Omen (bass) remaining from the debut album’s lineup. New to the band is Guardian Angel II (lead guitar) The Forger (rhythm guitars), and Grom (drums). Obviously, the influence of Warlord has spread beyond the musical realm and into the band’s choice of pseudonyms.
With a name like Doomsword, one would expect a slow, heavy doom metal album, and that is, in part, what the listener gets with Doomsword. There is no sludge here, though, and Doomsword has much more to offer than just doom metal. The band draws more heavily on the original US true metal sound of acts like Warlord, Manowar, and Manilla Road for its dark, epic sound, mixing it with a bit of the Viking flair of mid-period Bathory.
The seven songs on this album are all fairly lengthy, most clocking in at over seven minutes in length. Some, like the opener “Shores Of Vinland,” and “The Doomsword” are pretty straightforward, slow doom metal, while others, such as “For Those Who Died With Sword In Hand” carry on the Warlord tradition with its galloping rhythm, and hypnotic lead melodies. Deathmaster’s handles the vocal duties quite well; his mid-ranged voice, clear but with a rough, unpolished edge, provide the power and emotion demanded by Doomsword’s style.
In addition to the above mentioned songs, “MCXIX” is another favourite of mine, a faster, smashing song with some killer lead guitar work, its heaviness accentuated by the deep toll of a gigantic bell. The absolute masterpiece of the album is its closer, “Resound the Horn: Odin’s Hail.” The main riff here is crisp and catchy, and the drums, though nothing special, fill in perfectly for this epic song of war that one must hear to believe. Absolutely amazing!
Doomsword hit a very high mark with their essential debut, and RESOUND THE HORN is almost as good, certain to make my top 10 list for 2002. Fans of true metal should not miss this album!
(originally written by me for www.metal-rules.com, January, 2003)
Doomsword are a band from Italy playing epic doom metal. Their sound can be described as a mixture between Candlemass, Manowar, Manilla Road, Warlord, but without sounding really like any one of these bands. If one is curious as to what epic doom metal sounds like I highly suggest you buy this album, because it is one of the best epic doom metal albums to come out in quite some time and is a good representation of the style. To be honest there are very few metal bands playing this kind of music anymore, and that’s a damn shame if you ask me.
The vocals are epic and wonderful. (They are similar to Hansi Kursch of Blind Guardian, especially when Deathmaster gets into the higher registers) The drumming is methodical and sets a good pace, but is nothing spectacular or groundbreaking (Especially when compared to drummer Grom's other band, Ancient.) The rhythm guitars are extremely heavy (of course) and just reek of barbarianism. This is the type of music that you imagine hordes of Norwegian soldiers would march to when they went to rape and pillage the towns of England. The verses and choruses are extremely catchy and just get stuck in your head for weeks on end. The lyrics are of course steeped in Norse and Viking mythology and are really great and fit with the vibe of the music very well. The solos simply destroy everything in their wake; most of them are often over a minute long and very intricate. The bass unfortunately is buried beneath the rest of the instruments on the production. Needless to say, this is a buy or die situation here, with Doomsword being one of the best metal acts of the new millennium. Now let’s get down to a song by song synopsis:
1) Shores of Vinland – Begins with a cool thunderstorm setting the mood and tone for the rest of the album. The mighty, epic, thunderous vocals of Deathmaster are soon heard and the track just smokes. Most Doomsword tracks are between 6 and 7 minutes and this one is no exception.
2) Onward Into Battle – Probably my third favorite track on the album. This one features an extremely catchy and memorable chorus.
3) The Doomsword – The doomiest and heaviest song on the album. Very good track.
4) MCXIX – Most likely the fastest track on the album. Very rocking rhythm and very catchy as well. Needless to say the chorus simply rocks again. This is also my father’s favorite track. (Yeah, even my dad thinks this music kicks ass)
5) For Those Who Died With Sword In Hand – Simply one of my favorite tracks. The track just sends shivers down your spine every time you hear it, even if it’s your millionth time hearing it. Great double bass pedal drumming on the chorus as well. Awesome song.
6) The Youth of Finn MacCool – Probably the weakest song on the album, but still a good song, better than anything 90% of bands ever write in their entire careers.
7) Resound the Horn: Odin’s Hail – This song is tied for my favorite track along with For Those Who Died With Sword In Hand. You need to hear this track to believe it!
Awesome band, and recommended to those who typically stray away from epic doom metal because of the cheesiness factor. But believe me, there is something very real in these lyrics and they just seem authentic. Once you put “Resound the Horn” and the music comes pouring out, you will be mesmerized for hours at just how mature and awesome the music is, never mind all the other little things that make this album so special. Do yourself a favor and buy this album.