The metallic stoner band, not the Leeds punk band I'm afraid.
Now here's a band that I've seen live and enjoyed, and loved their previous releases, so obviously I was awaiting the new album with high hopes. New drummer and new producer, not that the latter should really make a difference. The opening track unleashes an impressive display of fret-wankery, and yeah, It really does sound good. Entirely instrumental, I think maybe we could possibly be in for a treat with this album. The second track, Tres Brujas gets off to a good start also - until singer J.D Cronise opens his mouth. I don't know what's happened in the past two years but this sounds weak. A band who I'd previously describe as sabbath fanciers, don't really show their worth on this '2 part 10 track sci-fi concept album'. I don't really care for the lyrical content on this, because I like The Sword for their big riffs, not big concepts.
As the album goes on, admittedly the vocals do sound stronger, and the music as it goes sounds pretty technical, but the song structures become boring and I realize I've heard this done better before. I see a pattern when track 6 comes on. Astraea's Dream, another entirely instrumental effort, and it sounds good. On my second listen of the album, I get to the end of track 7, the title track, and get bored, turn it off and put The Freezing Fog on. To me this was a bit of a let down. I feel the need to mention the fact they opened for Metallica on pretty much a full world tour, but that doesn't really matter because this is a poor effort. No hat trick of good albums for The Sword I'm afraid. Listen to it, then listen to Age Of Winters. You'll understand.