The Sword – “Age of Winters” (2006)

The Sword is a doom and stoner metal band, “Age of Winters” being their debut record. Like an Elven sword cutting off the head of an orc, “Age of Winters” is as fantastical as it is heavy. The lyrics are heavily inspired by Tolkien and your standard Dungeons and Dragons geekiness, but let the inner nerd in you shine and you will have a lot of fun here.

The Sword crafted a great entry level record to the stoner and doom metal genre with “Age of Winters” because while it is heavy it is not overbearing. The vocals may feel amateurish, but I know to my young mind at the time I was much more willing to accept these vocals than the brutish grunts and caveman yelling you could find in the genre elsewhere. “Age of Winters” is also a very riff-centric album, with a lot of fast-paced songs and the guitar work hearkening to the glory days of Black Sabbath. This, too, is a lot easier to get behind than the drone or dark tones you could find with The Sword’s contemporaries.

There is a sense of grand adventure on “Age of Winters”, as if each song is the retelling of a mythic event or a lost hero, and The Sword serve as heavy metal bards. There are certainly some missteps on the album like the instrumental “March of the Lor” which meanders to nowhere interesting. Also, the vocals from J.D. Cronise as I said above are pretty amateurish, though they do grow on you I promise.

“Age of Winters” is a great album in the stoner metal, heavy metal, doom metal, whatever-you-want-to-call-it genre. It’s best when it’s at its heaviest and makes you want to grab an axe and go save the village (or pillage it) and any fan of this kind of music should take the time to check it out.

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