- GODS OF THE EARTH is a continuation of AGE OF WINTERS' assault on eardrums, while a step forward in sheer relentlessness, grabbing you by the devil horns and dragging you through the headbanging mire. Combing thrash, doom, hardcore, and speed metal, this Texan quartet has torn through singer/guitarist J.D. Cronise's tapestry of wizard-and-warlock-imagery and evaded silly clich? by imbuing the songs' bombast with eerie drama and dead-serious urgency. Where there would normally be solos, there are double-tracked riffs; where a drummer would generally keep the beat during a twin-guitar harmony, here Trivett Wingo drops some double-bass and cymbal crashes. GODS follows the template of its forefathers but strangely inverts all the expected dynamics, ultimately allowing rhythm and lead to trade-off on the evil--never relenting on the heaviness, no matter who's at the fore.
Rolling Stone (p.67) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Opener 'The Sundering' starts with a quietly fingerpicked intro, then cranks the amps up to 1972, and the chugga-chugga lasts all the way until the thunderous closing duo..."
Spin (p.106) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "This Austin, Texas band's riffs are so heavy they should be weighed periodically on truck scales..."
Entertainment Weekly (p.65) - "Swords's hell-bent-for-leather propulsion and twisty song structures are more than enough to induce your ears to bleed with pleasure." -- Grade: A-
Uncut (p.109) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]his blend of Sabbath-inspired riffing, windswept chug and songs called things like 'Fire Lance Of The Ancient Hyperzephyrians' has a neat shtick."
Alternative Press (p.136) - 4.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he album's primary footholds -- those downstrokes; that kick drum; those poker-faced paeans to wizards and wenches -- are as true, and as sinisterly black-and-blue, as doom metal gets."
CMJ - "The Swords' mix of stomping low end, epic crescendos and violently interconnected riffing is just as precisely constructed as something from fellow Austin resident Britt Daniel..."
Kerrang (Magazine) (p.50) - "[T]he quartet are a band with an unbreakable love for the riff, something that shows on every one of the album's nine songs."
Kerrang (Magazine) (p.55) - "[S]till as irresistible today as it was some three years ago...'Iron Swan' stomps in a way that has rarely been bettered since."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.109) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Galloping fantasies such as 'How Heavy This Axe' and 'Fire Lances Of The Ancient' find J.D. Cronise and Kyle Shutt shredding chainmail riffs and majestic twin-leads..."
Blender (Magazine) (p.79) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he Austin, Texas quartet peel Slayer-inspired twin-guitar leads over guttural riffs....Singer J.D. Cronise yowls with cranky-Viking imperiousness about frost giants, fire lances, burning wastelands and crones."