Listen Up: Wednesday, March 29, 2006
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A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The Sword

Age of Winters (Kemado Records)

By Anthony Mariani

At last, we know for whom the open-A chord tolls! Into detention hall are forthwith summoned today’s knavish reanimators of ’70s-era sludge. The true king awaits, with justice in mind, bong on lips, and The Sword in hand.

Age of Winters, the Austin quartet’s debut full-length, on hipper-than-shit indie imprint Kemado, is a mystery-meat manifesto etched in reverb on the bathroom stall of the gods: Basically, Winters says, if you’re gonna rip off — um, I mean, pay homage to — Black Sabbath, then do it right, man. Crank the amps to 11, get medieval on the drums, and spin totally mythological-ish yarns of yore.

Irony Men? Nah. The fixed guilelessness with which the four emo casualties who make up The Sword geek out guards them from sarcasm’s siren song. Twin lead singers unfold sparkly iron-on paeans to “The Horned Goddess,” the “Iron Swan,” and “Winter’s Wolves,” their tinny, trembling voices cruising in unison on stone-washed wings of acne cream. A’s for effort all around, though incantatory vocalismo or not, you gotta dig the band’s melodic muscle, surely the byproduct of sweet leaf, Mr. Crowley, and a fleet of distortion pedals. Opener “Barael’s Blade” guts an SG and spreads molten bounce over epic thud, while the mammoth “Lament for the Aurochs” cribs the curlicued noodlings of third-period sophomore English: “Laboring in the liquid light of Leviathan / Spectres swarm around the sunken cities of the Saurians.” Somehow, the ominous mood wrings dread from dorkiness. Apocalypse? Now.


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