Test the Edge

  • Artist: The Sword
  • Title: Age of Winters
  • Released: 2006
  • Format: Vinyl
  • Genre: Rock/Metal
  • Beverage of Choice: Stone Tangerine Express Hazy IPA

You may recall me mentioning The Sword in a previous post extolling the excellent stoner vibes present on All Them Witch’s ‘Lightning at the Door’ album. I’d picked up this album on CD shortly after it was released (mostly due to the song “Freya” which was featured as a playable track on the video game Guitar Hero II – I was deep into GH at the time) and was already a big fan when I headed out to the incomparable Belly Up in Solana Beach to see them in concert; that’s where I was introduced to ATW (and another band whose music I enjoy, Kadaver). The Sword headlined that evening and did a credible job of blowing the roof off the bar. Focused, energetic and serious, The Sword channeled Sabbath doom with a Texas swagger.

This being their debut album, Age of Winters represents an aesthetic and sensibility that the band have since, if not totally abandoned, at least adapted and ‘modernized’. And good for them, they have a right to move on, although if you read some of the reviews of albums like High Country (2015) or Used Future (2018) you’d swear the band was making a personal attack on erstwhile fans. I love each and every one of their releases; as different as the new ones are, they have a high energy level and represent an artistic direction that will keep The Sword relevant and making music for many more years and that is something to be applauded and grateful for.

Back to Age of Winters then. Think Sabbath but dragged kicking and screaming into the 2000’s with up-tempo, down-tempo, sludge, doom and heavy metal vibes all present and accounted for but hammered out by a young, savvy and metal-educated foursome. The Sword aren’t trying to sound like anybody but themselves and succeed admirably in that ambition. Some of the music swings (like any good band from Austin should swing) but mostly it’s big bass and guitar riffs backed up by crashing kick and cymbals. Lyrics tend towards mythological themes; I’m not sure if any of these tunes were used on Game of Thrones (because I’ve never watched that particular soap opera) but I guess they should have been just because of lyrics like:

“Harken to the howl of the huntsman’s hounds

Or the clarion of kingdoms doomed and drowned

Lost to these lands is lore of the high ones

Sunless skies await the return of the archons”

Lament for the Aurochs

If you enjoy banging your head to huge riffs, discovering supremely tight and imaginative metal or simply want some music that engages your brain and heart on a different level than pop, look no further other than to check out the rest of The Sword’s discography.

Play loud and often!

Published by Rick Adams

Husband, father, music lover

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