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Leaves a nasty taste in the mouth - 5%

kapitankraut, September 13th, 2007

The Sword's debut album "Age of Winters" nearly managed to put me off doom metal before I'd even started. Yes, dear reader, it is truly that bad.

Doom metal, as many of us presumably know, requires atmosphere. It requires sincerity. Most of the time, not to put too fine a point on it, it requires some element of what I call "doominess". "Doominess" is that glorious feeling you get listening to good doom metal when you suddenly realise that the ten-minute-long track is halfway over and the vocalist hasn't yet used his vocal cords in anger, or when you realise that the lyrics are so unspeakably pessimistic that you're not sure if you want the sun to come up tomorrow. "Age of Winters" has none of the above.

What "Age of Winters" does have, and has in spades, is what might be termed the outward form of doom metal. All those down-tuned guitar riffs propelling the song along and so on are here. The vocals, too, sometimes approach a suitably doomy style, but never really get there.

Lest it be thought that I'm simply comparing The Sword to the hypothetical "true doom metal" band and finding them sadly lacking, that isn't the case at all. I'm simply pointing out that a fan of other doom metal bands is highly unlikely to find much good in this album.

Neither is the fan of anything much else in terms of good music. The vocals here are pedestrian at best and pointless at worst. Far too often, they're simply indecipherable. To be fair, perhaps this is actually a good thing, since - as other reviewers here have pointed out - the lyrics are generally pretty dire anyway. I also get the sense that the band borrowed a series of works on mythology from their local library and selected words and phrases which sounded interesting. Musically, the guitar riffs are amateurish as well. Instead of being engaging and catchy, they're dull and boring. The effect is generally to make a short song sound like it's taking forever, which is never a good thing.

So why 5%? Well, sad to say it but I'm not sure this is the worst album out there. I haven't heard much worse, I'll grant you, but there'd have to be worse, surely. Maybe I'm just an optimist.