The Sword, Age of Winters

So, some marginally-irrelevant preamble: I’m tuning new strings on the guitar (Monster heavy series– the dude from Exhumed told me about them in Decibel!) tuned down two steps to C standard. I try to break in strings gradually by half-assed playing with records I know are in that key. A recent post by Monkey Defies Gravity thrust Age of Winters back onto my sonic radar, and since it’s also in C standard, I tried rocking out with it.

Don’t get me wrong– I really liked Warp Riders, and loved Gods of the Earth— but apparently I’d forgotten how awesome Age of Winters is.

AND, while playing with the tunes, I realized something: in interviews the members of The Sword have mentioned their love of ZZ Top (I guess not surprising, since they’re both Texans), and while this influence is fairly obvious on Warp Riders, I didn’t realize how indebted Age of Winters was to Billy Gibbons and Co– until I played the riffs myself.

Normally, I try not to learn doom metal riffs– maybe that sounds weird, but most good and great doom riffs are ridiculously easy to play– so much so, learning that whatever my current favorite riff is is actually comically simple somehow makes me like the riff less. Stupid, I know, but there it is.

So it was tuning the new strings to both the electronic tuner and Age of Winters that I realized the riffs therein are just as simple as those on Warp Riders, and, more interestingly, just as indebted to ZZ Top.

They’re almost all I-IV-V licks (i.e., blues licks), yet somehow are played with such… moxie… that I didn’t notice at all before.

Highlights: “Freya,” “Winter’s Wolves,” and “Iron Swan.” Nearly pure doom metal, with just a hint of Texas blues.

Don’t tell me that doesn’t sound great. Go on. Go back. Revisit Age of Winters. Thank me later.


  1. Clearly you are a man of great insight… check today and you’ll see they are streaming a cover of ZZ Top! Some of the riffs and chord progressions definitely feel Sword-like.

    Confession time: one of my earliest tapes was Eliminator (which I copied from my step-dad’s vinyl during my great awakening and subsequent tape-dub marathon of anything vaguely rock or metal from his collection) so I have a soft spot for the Gibbons brothers.

    1. Thank you Sir! I wish I could claim such intuition, but they talk about ZZT every other interview; it was somewhat inevitable they’d cover them.

      And that is not a confession, it is an exultation! When I was 15-23, my band encored with a cover of ZZ Top’s “Tush”; you needn’t qualify your love of the bros. Gibbons. Louisiana is pretty close to east Texas, after all. There’s gotta be some genes in common there, however distantly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s