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The Sword doesn't tinker with the formula they borrow from Black Sabbath, the formula first used to create their debut Age of Winters. Instead of trying to reinvent the metal wheel, the Austin-based quartet focus on getting the details right. That's where the Devil resides anyway, and the group has once again enlisted the Old Goat into their camp.

With mystical musings and precision-based riffs, Gods of the Earth plays like the soundtrack to classic Conan the Barbarian comics -- crushing your enemies as they are driven before you and hearing the lamentation of their women! There is plenty of crushing, driving, and wailing to be found here, metal fan.

The album's opening salvo, the instrumental "Sundering," evokes a swirling dust storm as the horde approaches. Until the last track, the charge seldom abates in this collection. Not since early Iron Maiden has a group perfected such a ferocious gallop. Go to myspace.com/thesword and check out "Fire Lances of the Ancient Hyperzephyrians," the album's single. It's a prime example of the Sword's mad cavalry charge.

Artist: The Sword
Album title: Gods of the Earth
Label: Kemado Records
Songs: 1. Sundering, 2. Frost-Giant's Daughter, 3. How Heavy This Axe, 4. Lords, 5. Fire Lances of the Ancient Hyperzephyrians, 6. To Take the Black, 7. Maiden, Mother & Crone, 8. Under the Boughs, 9. Black River, 10. White Sea

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