THE SWORD - Age Of Winters

By Johnny Suck - Turn Down the Suck - 02/14/2006

At first glance, this CD looks pretty gay. It has the sort of theme that should be cool but that has been ruined through association with so much lame music. Lyrics like “In falcon’s feathers soaring overhead / Choosing warriors among the dead / Twilight written in the runes of crones / Freya weeps upon her golden throne” are usually a bad sign. Luckily, Age of Winters isn’t gay at all! In fact it’s quite rocking. The Sword do it just the way I like it -- or well, one of the many ways I like it: laid-back, reasonably heavy, fairly repetitive, with a touch melody, and without a reliance on vocals. This is Rock (with a capital R) done right. It’s not perfect, of course, but on the technical side it comes pretty close. Really, my only complaint is that the vocals tend to be over sung. I prefer vocals that are a little more relaxed and less ambitious than what we’re getting here, but they don’t do too much damage since the singer knows how to keep quiet and let the riffs do the talking.

However, having the right sound and style isn’t enough, they also need the right songs to turn a solid album in to a great one, something that The Sword don’t quite do. I love their knack for making five-minute songs come across as epics, but once the CD is over, I have trouble recalling how any of them actually go. In six weeks of regularly listening to this disc, it’s been pretty rare that anything from it has been stuck in my head. None of these nine songs are bad; they just aren’t anything special. The net result is an album that’s a safe bet; anyone with an appreciation for heavy rock will like it, but if you don’t have the $15 to spare, don’t worry -- it isn’t that essential.

[Tune into Turn Down the Suck, Mondays 1:30-3:00pm]