The last album by The Sword (Age of Winters) was a retro-affair with sounds derived from the school of Black Sabbath. And it was well-liked. Since, the Sword has updated their sound, bringing in a hard-core heavy metal musicality while retaining the old-school vocals and a Rush-like, mythical land approach to lyrics and presentation. The new album is called Gods of the Earth.
The change in sound represents a band that is clear on where they want to be without compromising how they got there. With a collection of progressive bands doing the same work, it was necessary for The Sword to establish themselves, and then separate from the crowded fields. The Sword has done a nice job of it. They never alienate, although it will take a second listen to brush off the musical change. Once you’ve done that, you can then revisit and enjoy the album completely.
The album begins beautifully with a 30-second melodic intro before launching into a searing metallic barrage heralded by a clash of the cymbals on the opening track, “The Sundering.” The band continues their volcanic splash with “The Frost Giant’s Daughter,” and on through the rest of the album, the fire intensity of the band is at full strength.
There’s no denying the Black Sabbath tie-in, even if the music has turned heavier. But the musicianship is tight, the vision is on track. With danger in every mythological land, The Sword will be there to tell the tale, paying homage to the bands that inspired them completely.
The Sword fulfills their promise.