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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."