Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2018
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Tales of the sword-apprentice - 68%

Felix 1666, July 24th, 2018
Written based on this version: 1997, CD, Osmose Productions (Limited edition)

Maybe the guys of Swordmaster anticipated that their career would be pretty short and so they decided to call already their debut "Postmortem Tales". It's a pity that they transformed into a useless combo called Deathstar, because they actually had the momentum on their side. A contract with Osmose was the aim of thousands of underground musicians at that time, but the Swedish formation was not able to take advantage of this situation. Why? Well, their song-writing capabilities did not outshine the skills of their competitors, to express it politely. Some parts of the debut remain interchangeable and very generic. The raw and simple riffs are not bad and the level of aggression is absolutely acceptable, but there are not many songs with memorable sections. Especially the unobtrusive choruses do not score with catchy lines. Thus, the majority of the songs just passes by.

Of course, exceptions confirm the rule. "Metallic Devastation" is a nice mix of blast beats driven sequences, a gloomy bridge, further fast parts and swirling riffs. The song lives up to its name, because it cannot be denied that it offers a devastating aura. As far as I remember, it was the band's contribution to an Osmose sampler called "World Domination", where Swordmaster met other label comrades such as Impaled Nazarane, Absu, Immortal or Driller Killer. Guess it was no coincidence that the French company exactly chose this number for its label sampler. But this does not mean that "Metallic Devastation" constitutes the only good song here. Numbers like the straight and uncompromising title track please me as well. It is therefore a pity that the band was not able to create some individual trademarks. As much as I regret it, there is no specific reason to throw the here reviewed disc into the CD player as long as one has 15 or 20 further thrash records. Aggravating the situation, one can call the whole material homogeneous, but also somewhat monotonous. Really fiery, intensive sequences remain rare, but the mid-part of "Claws of Death" awakens the dead.

Yes, you are right. I am not really able to forget their feeble-minded Deathstar experiment and therefore I am probably biased. So in all fairness, the songs are not bad, the singer conveys an adequate mix of anger, hysteria and wickedness and the protagonists avoid major flaws succesfully. But more than 20 years after the publication, this kind of blackened thrash metal is not enough to be still relevant in a scene which has grown rapidly during the last two decades. In addition, I cannot ignore that the production also does not provide a unique selling point. Hi-fi dogmatists will cry - I think it's okay, even though the bass guitar is sidelined and the entire mix has a noisy touch. Summing up, the overall impression remains pretty ambivalent - buy the album on special offer or leave it be and create your own post mortem tales.

Not quite Postmortem yet. - 70%

aglasshouse, November 10th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1997, CD, Osmose Productions (Limited edition)

Here's a funny story: when I was seven or eight years old, I fantasized about having my own rock band. I had consumed volumes of Breaking Benjamin and Green Day, and I aspired to one day be mentioned alongside the likes of Benjamin Burnley and Billy Joel Armstrong. Said desire isn't really part of my life anymore, but what I can tell you is that during this time I was a kid who loved to plan out things. Hardly any of these things came to fruition, but regardless I loved plotting my dreams in large itineraries and graphics. For this rock band dream, I conjured a single-word name for the band, being...well, Swordmaster. I drew covers of explosions and fire and flying eagles for imaginary "Swordmaster albums", and it entertained the hell out of me.

Well, flash-forward to about a decade later and here I am, with a disc in my hand from a band called Swordmaster titled Postmortem Tales. And would you look at that- explosions on the cover. Go figure.

It's safe to say my past alone propelled me toward this particular album, but I remained curious to discover the actual contents. What lies inside this particular album is at least partially interesting- Swordmaster is apparently a Swedish death-thrash band that made their marks prior to this 1997 studio debut with a black metal themed demo and a split with the Norway-based Zyklon-B. While their genre shift is definitely evident from this record, palpable nuggets of their black metal past are still present in areas like Andreas Bergh's vocal work and the droning ripple of the dual guitars. Upon first listen, I was a bit skeptical of the whole piece and it's nature as an "obscure but boring thrash release". While listening through though I was pleasantly surprised at a variety of satisfying tidbits that did well to throw a wrench into the mix of what would otherwise be a dreadfully monotonous work.

For one, Terror (aka Niklas Rudolfsson) on the skins is quite the piece of work. Owe it to the production (which is quite good for such an indie release) or what have you, but his zealous, machinery-esque drum sound is quite entertaining and fitting, and is heeded by the fact that he is quite impressive with the more rapid fills and tempo changes. Another great part of this album is its surprising eclecticism. Swordmaster not only dabble in death metal and black metal, but also in some more melodic parts such as on 'Blood Legacy' and 'Past Redemption', the band hits some notes that would not be out of place on a power metal album. Such elasticity is extremely refreshing, keeping you on your feet at all times prepared for a different sonic onslaught. The third and final noticeable feature of Postmortem Tales is the above-par songwriting. As previously mentioned, the album has a rather eclectic nature and isn't shy to pull in different metal sounds to create a fun ride. But such eclecticism wouldn't be able to function if it weren't for the songwriting, which is particularly enjoyable due to how fast everything travels. Sometimes it feels almost progressive in terms how many guitar solos and drum fills can be jammed into a simple minute of playing time.

But Postmortem Tales isn't all great, because a few things indeed hamper it. Sometimes the drums and tempo lean a bit too heavily on the thrash 4/4, a metal cliche that haunts even the best of bands. Luckily as stated before, sophisticated drum fills do well to add at least some flavor, as do the melodic guitar solos. Sometimes the vocals can grow a bit cliche as well, but honestly I wouldn't expect much more from a band still clinging a bit to their roots and is still trying to find their sound.

In all, this little gem is a romp that packs quite a punch in some areas. Definitely a punch big enough to give it the edge over much of Swordmaster's peers. I'd say check it out if you've got 45 minutes to spare.

What the fuck happened?! - 65%

natrix, March 14th, 2004

Industrial style intro? What is this? This can't be Swordmaster!
Oh, but that's just it. It is Swordmaster. Not only did they lose the killer drummer from their EP, they replaced him with Nicky Terror of Sacramentum (they rule but...). To make matters worse, he wrote most of the damn music on here, and changed it to retro-thrash with black metal vocals! AAAAARRRRGH!!!
"The Master's Possession" is a good song. It's got a lot of good riffing going on, but then it gets Gothenfucked near the end a little bit, but not in a bad way. Next up, "Crush To Dust," which is the highlight of the album. It doesn't sound like Wraths of Time, but out of Swordmaster's newer stuff, this is a great song. Emil even does a small neo-classical style solo in the middle, which fit nicely.
Then...nothing. Nothing really catches my ear. There are a few good riffs here and there, but it just doesn't reach out and grab you. Nicky could be blamed for this, because of his role in the music, but nothing has much carachter. Whiplasher still has a pretty unique way of spitting out lyrics, lighting paced and with different phrasing (imagine Dani Filth, but much better and not that crazy squeeky voice), but it all goes by in a blur. Sure, "Claws of Death" starts out like "Conspiracy" on the EP, but then it goes back to revisited thrash.
I'm not too happy about this. What sucks is that this album isn't really that bad, but it just couldn't match the strength of the EP. When you make full albums and change style, that's one thing. But when you start off with an EP then change completely, that's a pretty abrupt change. Perhaps they wanted to cash in on the retro phase that was going on, but shit...