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Uninspired Yet Fun - 70%

DaveMustardstaine, March 9th, 2014

Let me start with this. This album, while fun, is nothing unique to the genre. Lyrically and vocally, it shines, but that's as far as its creativity goes. For the most part, this album has very boring and uncreative instrumentals, and several similar sounding instrumental tracks. Even the hidden track is very similar to other tracks.

However, as I said, this album is also fun. The lyrics are very fantasy-centered, and J.D.'s vocals are very powerful on pretty much every track. This isn't enough to save the album, though. The very few, very catchy tracks that stand out on this album are The Black River, The Frost Giant's Daughter and Under The Boughs. With the exception of these tracks, this album makes nothing more than decent background music.

Fire Lances of the Ancient Hyperzypherians tends to drag on, the instrumentals The Sundering, and The White Sea feel very uninspired, and mostly just break up the flow of the album, and How Heavy This Axe, while catchy, has yet more uninspired instrumentals.

I would recommend this album for people who are new to doom metal, but for veterans of the genre, this is nothing new or unique. It makes for a good entry point into this genre, which, in this case, is both a good and bad thing.

Sword Of Doom - 85%

B76484, March 20th, 2009

This album is barely doom, I understand. It is more or less very Black Sabbath educed stoner rock. Nonetheless, I love it and I believe it deserves the 85 I gave it with every ounce of listening-ship I have.

The album starts with a great short little instrumental entitled “The Sundering”, the title alone makes me want to drink a keg and do the Irish jig. It starts out acoustic, but quickly escalates into a heavy, Sabbath sounding song. I love the solo, simple yet effective. The guitar playing overall in the album is great, period. I love music that you can just rock out to when no one’s home or even if someone is home, and this album is just that.

The vocals are very Ozzy like, and I love Ozzy vocals. This album as a whole reminds me so much of early Black Sabbath, that when I first heard a couple of tracks off of it I thought it was Sabbath! This could be taken in a bad way, but I don’t look at it as such. The bass playing is very nice, very stoner rocky, same with the drums. I love how they’re so primitively played, using every drum an cymbal that guy has in the kit in the most effective way possible on tracks like “How Heavy This Axe” and “Mother, Maiden, & Crone” you can really hear the powerful pounding of the drums.

I’d really like to see these guys live, I think it would really help the experience that it is of listening to them. I’d recommend this to anyone who loves early Black Sabbath or anything like that. For fans of bands like Sleep and the like as well.

Aimless, uninspiring but competent stoner-fuzz - 72%

Arkkiperkele, June 15th, 2008

The Sword have managed during their relatively short existance (at least album-wise) to come under heavy fire and bashing from the so-called 'true' metal community. Someone, somewhere, told me once that metal listeners were tolerant and receptive and that the community was open. That's quite as true as saying that there's mature, relevant and constructive discussion going on the Blabbermouth.

I don't have much attachment to nor awareness of how The Sword and its members associate in the scene. Most likely they are labeled false, poser, irrelevant et cetera, judging from the bands they've been touring with (Lacuna Coil for example). A lot of seemingly ignorant and skin-deep bashing surrounds this band and everything they've put out.

But if you completely ignore the non-musical elements and try judging the band by its actual merits, what have you? The Sword manages to give its bashers and haters with their latest album pretty much what they've expected, yet it is not too hopeless.

If you had to describe Gods of the Earth with a single phrase, it'd be ”standard, plodding but groovy stoner rock”. That is the biggest flaw with this record, it really doesn't add anything to the scene that there already isn't. It's very pleasing and nice to see that doom/stoner community is ”dynamic”, ”alive”, ”constantly moving ahead”, but what good is it if the bottom line is the same as square one?

The album opens with a promise, The Sundering, a semi-acoustic instrumental. In all its blandness it may be the album highlight for me, not for the least due to its short title. Overbearing song titles are more than a rule here. From the second track onwards the album descends into a chaos, a sonic chasm that sounds like someone is trying to put together a Sabbath/Kyuss/Orange Goblin-inspired
stoner album.

Emphasis here lies on ”trying”, that is because the whole set lacks an aim, artistic or else. Somebody told these guys, ”it's time to make some stoner metal”, handing over a bunch of bucks and keys to the studio... And you can hear it. From the get-go the album wanders on, blind-folded and lost. The production is cheap off-the-shelf Kyuss imitation. There is a good riff there and nice solo here, but they all seem out of place, as if lame carbon-copies instead of actual stuff. That is because a myriad bunch of bands throughout the US and the world have done these things all before, and done 'em better.

There are still bunch of good tracks besides the opener. The Frost Giants and Fire Lances remain edible for human appetite, galloping, crushing riffage, however broken by interludes that almost make you cry...of shame. To Take The Black is then the pinnacle and overall height of the whole album. Beginning with a Planet Caravan atmosphere, it morphs up to become a nice good Wino-tribute with Irish (?) folk tendencies hurrying along. The Sword provide themselves a raison d'etre with this track alone. Oh yes, the hidden track, but it is good, has nothing to do with the rest of the disc. And that's for the better.

So what else have you in The Sword and their 2008 output, besides a pretender? This pretender may be at times just as good as the real thing it woes to be, really competent in the bread and butter department. But soon you will get pretty much tired and fed up with the bread and go for the steak. Recommended only to complement an all encompassing stoner collection.

Forget what you read ... this is awesome - 91%

FrostOfTheBlack, June 3rd, 2008

I'm not much into stoner metal/rock, but I know a lot of doom metal, and this just sticks out as one of the best releases I've heard in the genre. I haven't heard The Sword's first album, so I don't know how similar it sounds to that.

Frankly, I don't care how mainstream this band has become, or whether or not they're a true metal band or not. This stuff is very heavy, very memorable, and fun to listen to.

This album is full of heavy riffs coupled with a perfect rhythm section, and a unique vocal style. The songs are different enough so that the entire album does not sound like one long song, as each song has its distinctive feel and rhythm so that you will remember it after you listen to it.

The songs go from brooding and slow such as in the beginning of the "Black River," to mid-paced and upbeat such as in the chorus of "How Heavy This Axe" to fast-paced and very heavy such as in "Fire Lances of the Ancient Hyperzephrians". The highlight of this album is without a doubt the drumming; it's not incredibly complex but the beats this guy creates make the album so much heavier. I love the fact that they have some clean guitar parts such as in "The Sundering" juxtaposed with the heavier songs.

The guitar lines aren't too complex but they are unique enough to not all sound the same and fit in perfectly with the rest of the music. There are a few guitar solos, but they aren't much to write home about.

The vocal style is unlike anything I've ever heard. He's got a pretty good range but stays mostly in the medium frequencies. It fits the music really well.

The main gripe with this album is the lyrics. They're pretty lame and don't have much emotion to them. I agree with the reviewer below who said they sound like they came from a D&D game.

Overall, a great album. It's not the most original style of music, as it sounds like a blend of early Black Sabbath with some speed metal and a little bit of pop sensibility. However, it's done right, and that's good enough for a favorable review from me.

Best songs: "Fire Lances of the Ancient Hyperzephrians", "The Black River", "How Heavy This Axe."

Behold, the second one. - 50%

olo, January 26th, 2008

They were nowhere to be known in the scene. All of a sudden and out of nowhere, they were on a major-backed label, all over MTV and getting major press, making them an important Stoner Metal band. Scene expert snobs were busy discussing the cred of this band and as expected, the opinions were divided about them. This was 2006 and the album was called Age of Winters. We listened. It wasn't bad really. We all knew they were a decent band and we could spot the Sleep, High on Fire, Corrosion of Conformity, NWOBHM influenced riffs and the half formed ideas that somehow failed to lead into genre epics. It was just about a nice addtion to your collection and almost everyone, no matter if they liked the album or not, looked forward to the second album to see where they'd take this sound.

So yeah, it's 2008 believe it or not, and it has happened. Gods of the Earth is what it's called and this is going to be released coming April. On the positive side, this isn't 'more of the same' because they've genuinely evolved a bit. For starters, there's lesser slow/stoner-metal nods and more NWOBHM/80s metal, perceptibly finer chops, more harmonized leads and the increased and improved usage of euro sounding scales. Even with a more metal direction, the band is content with sticking to the same style of singing and raw production. The vocal style, I assume, is not everyone's cup of tea and I personally think it really would've lifted the music to have had a more powerful singer ala JB (Grand Magus, Spiritual Beggars) or even someone like Matt Pike's Lemmy-smoked-and-played-thrash as heard on High on Fire.

The music is interesting in parts but bland on the whole, while catchy melodies, great riffs and hooks are few and far between. Unlike Mastodon who (deserved all the fame and praises to begin with more than these blokes and) delivered a great post-hype album to sustain everything they struggled to achieve, this band lacks that extra bit to give their label a special album. Sub-par arrangements and sub-par songwriting are generally the keywords here and the album has turned out a lot weaker than the debut. If you want to dig a little deeper, there's also the sub-par drum work to notice but that's the least of the worries.

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