Sound — 9
The Sword makes you raise your devil horns once again with their new album, Gods Of The Earth. Following a successful first album, The Sword has tried to branch out a little bit with their new stuff. They have added a little bit of an early Bay Area flavor to the riffs, along with heavier drums and more speed. This is a unexpected surprise that accompanies the band's brand of Texan Sabbath-era stoner metal. Unlike the last record they have made the album a little more modern with the guitar work, adding more technicality to the solos and more complexity to the riffs and spliffs. You can also hear a Mastodon influence in some of the intros and bridges. I also enjoyed the exiting bass lines thrown in for good measure. Overall it is an amazing sound that greets the true metal head's ears with pleasure and comfort.
Lyrics — 8
Once again most of the lyrics are about wizardry, monsters, battles, swords, barbarians, and the elements. It fits the sludgy brand of stoner metal very well, giving it depth and a feeling of an ancient battlefield. John Cronise hasn't changed vocally whatsoever, and for some that is a turn off. I have no problem with his Ozzy styled hum, but for others, it drowns out the music and makes it unbearable. Obviously he is not the greatest singer, but the fact that he is playing the guitar at the same time makes that okay.
Overall Impression — 10
If I had to compare this to another album I would say it sounds like the later Black Sabbath's album Sabotage. The use of the acoustic guitars also adds a mid-evil feel that is hard to shake and harder to dislike. For me, the best songs are Maiden Mother & Crone, The Frost-Giant's Daughter, and The Sundering. I find the riffs to be quite choice and fresh compared to most of the albums being released this year. I have no complaints about this album because I knew what to expect. New-comers may find John Cronise's voice to be annoying, but for the veterans who have already heard the band, they know what to expect. If this album were stolen or lost I would definitely go pick up a new one. I suggest you go pillage your local record store and snatch Gods Of The Earth up right now.