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I have only heard a few songs on the Age of Winters album, not the entire thing.
Our legends tell of weapons, Wielded by kings of old
Crafted by evil wizards, Unholy to behold
We seek the fire lances, That slew the ancient race
The world where they were masters, Now lays in waste
Expect to hear a lot of lyrics like that while listening to the bands The Sword's new album Gods of the Earth. A lot of the lyrics are heavily inspired by Norse mythology, but the vocals are definitely not the main focus of this band. The sword has always been known to focus solely on intricate riffs which is a good thing but sometimes leaves songs feeling empty when the solos are only 15 seconds long or when there are only 4 verses of vocals in a song.
The album starts out with a heavy instrumental song called The Sundering. It pretty much prepares you for what the whole album is going to be with loud deep riffs and blaring snare drums. The two most powerful songs on the album are probably Maiden, Mother & Crones and Fire Lances of the Ancient Hyperzephyrians (My new favorite song name). Definitely check those songs out if you get the album.
Well we know The Sword has to be making some money considering they've made it into a Guitar Hero game and have a couple music videos (Not just some cheap music videos at that) so they must have fixed the problem with the vocals quality? Nope, the vocals in this album are just as scratchy and hard to hear as they were in Age of Winters. I'm all for trying to keep the main focus of the band on the guitars but there is nothing wrong with understandable vocals.
The guitar riffs are just as good on this album as the last. Songs like Maiden, Mother & Crone have riffs that can compare to the riff in the popular song Freya from the previous album. I find it a shame though about how short their guitar solos usually are. Instead of real guitar solos they will put in about a minute and thirty seconds of a deep improvised riff which I don't really count as a guitar solo. I know they have the ability to play good fast paced and high pitched solos judging by songs like The Frost Giant's Daughter but that is one of the few songs that have a good solo in it.
I'm not to fond of the drums in this album. I didn't notice this problem in this last but the drummer really overuses the snares. Not only that but the volume for the drums is just overall abnormally loud for this album. The snares in some songs are just constantly being hit over and over to a point where it is practically drowning out the guitar and making the vocals further impossible to hear. I know they are just trying to be "heavy" but sometimes they try a little to hard.
Overall the album was definitely pretty good. The songs are great and up to par with those from Age of Winters. It's just a shame that they decided not to focus on some of the problems with the previous album and fix them for the new album. Despite how good the album was, it was a slight disappointment for that reason. I can't say it was a perfect album, but I still loved it.