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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gods of the Earth, 18 Dec 2012
By 
Mr. S. Barnes (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gods of the Earth (Audio CD)
If you want 50 minutes of earth shattering 'stoner metal', this is the album for you. This and all of their other albums too. I can't wait to see what this band will do for music in the years to come...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Far from the sheltering glens, 23 April 2008
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Gods of the Earth (Audio CD)
As if their name and albums weren't enough to tip you off, the Sword like to do two things: make references to myths and fantasy, and blast your ears off with eruptions of fiery metal.

And in their second album "Gods of the Earth," this Austin band proceeds to do both -- but with greater intensity than in their debut. Not only do they have Black-Sabbath-style muscle and power that sweeps you off like a tidal wave, but also a wild flexibility that only promises to become more hypnotic in the future.

The first song eases you into the music with a nimble, quiet guitar melody... right before that swell of thunderous bass explodes onto the scene, and it turns into a full-fledged metal anthem. But from the way they play it, you can tell that this is just the buildup.

It's followed by the epic buildup and rapid ascent of "How Heavy This Axe," a blazing war anthem ("So many men have fallen/So many more must die/Cut down like wheat beneath the scythe!"), and "Lords'" tight knifelike riffs twined with heavy grimy clouds of bass. And, of course, lyrics that sound like they were written for some enormous high-fantasy novel ("The dukes of the marches have ordered their archers/To shoot all outlanders on sight").

So you have a pretty good idea of what the remaining songs are going to be, and the Sword rushes on through them like a brush fire. A rollicking hard-rocker that simultaneously sounds like a stampede and a car revving, a meditative folk-metal anthem, blazing yowlfests, tribal metal, eruptions of accelerating bass and wild upward-spiraling riffs.

By the time you get to "The White Sea," you'll probably feel kind of dizzy. Fortunately the album finally slows to a stately dark cloud of grimy bass, with one outburst of wailing riffs near the end.

When you get down to it, all the songs on here sound like the soundtrack to some heavy-metal fantasy movie, with a heavy dose of Norse mythology -- lots of bloody battles, mythical goddesses, destroyed ruins, wizards, damsels, legends, creepy forests, and fantastical/mythic stuff like that. And they'll happily blow your ears off too.

"Gods of the Earth" is just as wild, heavy and rock-hard as the Sword's debut album, but they rev up the tempo with this one -- just listen to the speed of "Under the Boughs." We get raw, rough, intertwined basslines race along at sixty MPH, pausing occasionally for the sharp-edged electric riffs, elaborate acoustic bits, and some solid drumming. But the powerful bass playing is what really pushes this epic, fast-moving music along.

JD Cronise's voice gets a bit buried in the mix, but he yowls nicely when you can hear him. The lyrics are probably the weakest point. They're colourful and evocative ("They come with teeth and tusks and talons/They come with horns and hooves and claws/A wailing cry is heard deep within the forest...") but their lyrics get very stilted at times ("Our legends tell of weapons/Wielded by kings of old/Crafted by evil wizards/Unholy to behold").

In fact, they're at their strongest when they don't try too hard, such as in the relatively simple "Maiden, Mother and Crone": "Walk not down that road/I can not tell you where it goes/Ask me no more questions/Some things you weren't meant to know."

"Gods of the Earth" suffers from some awkward lyrics, but their muscular, blazing, D&D-geeky brand of metal is almost powerful enough to drown that out. Definitely worth hearing.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yaaaaaaargh!, 31 Mar 2008
By 
Big Jim "Big Jim" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Gods of the Earth (Audio CD)
Loud and proud, riffing at the top edge of the scale (way beyond 11), lyrical nonsense (surely tongues are firmly in cheek), thunderous, mighty, skull numbing bass and drums and I've never heard cymbals get such a beating since Live at Leeds....

From the Black Sabbath end of the metal spectrum, this album just pounds you into submission

What's not to like?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Didn't see this coming..., 29 Nov 2013
By 
Justin Keery "eljustinoid" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gods of the Earth (MP3 Download)
Came across this totally by accident.

Untarnished by the 90s, 2000s and 2010s, this is hard, heavy rocking stuff. Wonderful.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Metal is coming back in force!, 29 Sep 2009
By 
Mr. Lc Hodgson (Hull England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gods of the Earth (Audio CD)
The Sword are a brilliant band and it looks like they will soon be recieving the attention they deserve after their tour with Metallica earlier this year.
This album is very reminiscent of Black Sabbath from Master of Reality onwards, the guitar riffs are simply huge and covered in fuzz whilst Cronise wails away like Ozzy. However, it would be unfair to simply brand them a Sabbath tribute as they have a very modern approach and are slightly more technical. The lyrics may be fantasy based but they carried off a lot better than say, Dragonforce as they actually make sense and hold a larger vocabulary.
My only issue with the album is the mixing does not seem to be quite up to scratch, the heavier moments are slightly blurred and undistintive with the vocals heavily buried in the mix. Also, there are a few guitar solos but a band this epic really needs more, perhaps this will be addressed on future albums as this is only their second.
In short if you are a fan of Black Sabbath or would just like to see what happened when stoner metal met power metal you should buy this album.
Oh, and don't make the same mistake I did, you can buy this bundled with "age of winters" for the same price...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 29 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Gods of the Earth (Audio CD)
Again The Sword fail to disappoint
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Game of Thrones and Conan fans take note!, 25 July 2011
By 
J. Lloyd (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gods of the Earth (Audio CD)
Three years after its initial release, The Sword's second outing has grown considerably on me to the point where it is now my favourite release the Austin's finest. The transition from Age of Winters to Gods is marked by a tightening up in the musicianship and growing confidence in JD Cronise's vocal prowess. 'The Sundering', the album's opening track is fairly typical of many rock and metal albums these days - an acoustic number that suddenly launches into a full out aural assault - but despite its predictability, new listeners are in for a treat as the acoustic rhythm morphs into a bone crushing headbanging overture that precedes the album nicely.

Depending on which version of the album you have, the second track is either the 'Frost Giant's Daughter', based on the Robert E. Howard Conan the Barbarian story of the same name, or the excellent 'How Heavy this Axe'. Frost opens with a fantastic riff the evokes imagery of windswept plains and frost covered mountainous peaks.

Without a doubt, my favourite song on this album has to be 'Lords'. Although the band themselves proclaim that 'To Take the Black' is an overt lyrical theme to George RR Martin's excellent A Song of Fire & Ice mythos, the lyrical content of 'Lords' is a thinly disguised homage to the War of the Five Kings in Martin's 'A Clash of Kings'. "The Dukes of the Marches have ordered their archers/To shoot all outlanders on sight" in my mind can only refer to the Dornish Lords and their ongoing feud with the Lords of High Garden. If the awesome lyrical content wasn't enough, the riff that precedes the verses and chorus alone is worth the listen. Total. Power.

Moving through the album, more Game of Thrones references spring up in the excellent 'To Take the Black' - without the instruments the lyrical content alone wouldn't be out of place if sung by the men of the Night's Watch. Likewise, 'Mother, Maiden & Crone' (itself directly taken from 'A Storm of Swords' in a chapter featuring a bard) is a homage to the Seven of the new Faith.

As you progress, the mythos changes from A Song of Fire and Ice to the more primordial fantasy elements seen in the original Conan stories by Robert E. Howard, 'The Black River', loosely following Howard's own Conan story 'Beyond the Black River' - "Make your stand with great hound / The frontier is lost /Black waters lie before you / Together you cross" illustrating Conan's respect for the settler Balthus and the dog Slasher's last stand against the Picts in the Wildernish.

Basically, if you are a big fan of the exploits set in Hyboria and Westeros, pick this album up. Well worth repeated listenings!
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