Age of Winters

Last updated
Age of Winters
TheSword AgeOfWinters.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 14, 2006
(release history)
Recorded2005 (2005) at Folkvang Studios, Austin, Texas
Genre Heavy metal, doom metal, stoner metal
Label Kemado
Producer J. D. Cronise
The Sword chronology
Age of Winters
The Sword/Witchcraft split
Singles from Age of Winters
  1. "Freya"
    Released: September 4, 2008 (UK only)

Age of Winters is the debut album by American heavy metal band The Sword, released in the United States on February 14, 2006. [1] [2] The Japanese edition, released by record label Toy's Factory, contains three bonus tracks recorded live at the CBGB club in New York City [3] on April 9, 2006. [4] The single released from the album was "Freya", [5] which did not chart. Age of Winters was later reissued as part of a two-disc box set with Gods of the Earth on November 25, 2008. [1] [6]

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

The Sword American band

The Sword is an American heavy metal band from Austin, Texas. Formed in 2003, the band is currently composed of vocalist and guitarist John D. Cronise, guitarist Kyle Shutt, bassist Bryan Richie and drummer Santiago "Jimmy" Vela III. Originally signed to Kemado Records, the group released its debut album Age of Winters in 2006, the material for which had been largely written by Cronise prior to the band's formation. Gods of the Earth was released two years later, giving the group its first entry on the US Billboard 200 chart when it reached number 102.

Toys Factory Japanese record label

Toy's Factory Inc. is a Japanese record label founded in the late 1980s as a subsidiary of the entertainment company VAP, based in Japan. On May 30, 1990, it was established as an independent company.



Professional ratings
Review scores
allmusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [7]
Blender Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [8]
PopMatters Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [9]

The Sword's debut album received a widely positive critical reaction. Reviewing for music website allmusic, critic Eduardo Rivadavia awarded Age of Winters 4.5 out of 5 rating stars, qualifying it as an "AMG Album Pick". [10] In the review, Rivadavia claims that the band's debut record "sees them joining California's High on Fire, Sweden's Witchcraft, and Australia's Wolfmother (to name but a few) at the forefront of what's gradually become known in the mid-'00s as the "heritage" or "retro-metal" movement." [10] He goes on to suggest that "the album's main attraction [is] its megalithic guitar work," concluding that "Age of Winters provides [...] listeners with as good an entryway as any into the "retro-metal" universe, while also managing to sound refreshing even to calloused heavy metal ears," which, he suggests, "is no small achievement." [10]

High on Fire band

High on Fire is a Grammy Award winning American heavy metal band from Oakland, California, that was formed in 1998. Matt Pike, the band's frontman and founder, also plays guitar for the influential stoner metal band Sleep.

Witchcraft (band) Swedish doom metal/stoner rock band founded in 2000

Witchcraft is a Swedish doom metal band founded in 2000.

Wolfmother Australian hard rock band

Wolfmother are an Australian hard rock band from Sydney, New South Wales. Formed in 2004, the group is centred around vocalist and guitarist Andrew Stockdale, who is the only constant member of the lineup. The band have been through many personnel changes since their formation, with the current incarnation including drummer Hamish Rosser and bassist Brad Heald, both of whom are former members of The Vines. The original – and most commercially successful – lineup included bassist and keyboardist Chris Ross and drummer Myles Heskett. Both Ross and Heskett left Wolfmother after four years in 2008.

Other reviews of Age of Winters were similarly positive – webzine PopMatters, awarded the album a favorable rating of seven out of ten, describing it as "one fine, headbang-inducing beast of a debut record," [11] while The Austin Chronicle summarised the album as "literate" and "visceral". [12]

PopMatters is an international online magazine of cultural criticism that covers many aspects of popular culture. PopMatters publishes reviews, interviews, and detailed essays on most cultural products and expressions in areas such as music, television, films, books, video games, comics, sports, theater, visual arts, travel, and the Internet.

<i>The Austin Chronicle</i> American newspaper

The Austin Chronicle is an alternative weekly newspaper published every Thursday in Austin, Texas, United States. The paper is distributed through free news-stands, often at local eateries or coffee houses frequented by its targeted demographic. The newspaper reported a weekly readership of 545,500. It is part of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia and it emulates the typical publications of the 1960s counter-culture movement.

"Freya" appears as a playable song in Guitar Hero II and again in Guitar Hero Smash Hits and on the soundtrack of Burnout Dominator. "Barael's Blade" was used in the season five American Dad! episode "Rapture's Delight". "Celestial Crown" is featured on the Jennifer's Body soundtrack. "Iron Swan" appears in the 2006 video game Tony Hawk's Project 8 and also appears in season nine American Dad! episode "Minstrel Krampus".

Freya (song) 2007 song performed by The Sword

"Freya" is a song by American heavy metal band The Sword. Written by the band and produced by vocalist and guitarist John D. Cronise, it is featured on the band's 2006 debut studio album Age of Winters. In addition to being released as the only single from the album on September 4, 2007, "Freya" was featured as a playable track on the video game Guitar Hero II, released in November 2006.

<i>Guitar Hero II</i> 2006 video game

Guitar Hero II is a music rhythm game developed by Harmonix, published by Activision and distributed by RedOctane. It is the second installment in the Guitar Hero series and is the sequel to Guitar Hero. It was first released for the PlayStation 2 in November 2006, and then for the Xbox 360 in April 2007, with additional content not originally in the PlayStation 2 version.

<i>Guitar Hero Smash Hits</i> video game

Guitar Hero Smash Hits is a music rhythm game and the fourth expansion game to the Guitar Hero series. The game features 48 songs originally featured in five previous games in the series—Guitar Hero, Guitar Hero II, Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock and Guitar Hero: Aerosmith—redesigning the songs to be based on master recordings and to include support for full band play first introduced to the series in Guitar Hero World Tour. The game was developed by Beenox, published by Activision and distributed by RedOctane for release on the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360 systems and was released around the world in the second half of June 2009.

Track listing

All lyrics written by J. D. Cronise; all music composed by The Sword.

1."Celestial Crown" (instrumental)1:57
2."Barael's Blade"2:48
4."Winter's Wolves"4:36
5."The Horned Goddess"5:01
6."Iron Swan"5:46
7."Lament for the Aurochs"7:59
8."March of the Lor" (instrumental in eight movements)4:41
Total length:42:57
Japanese edition
10."Barael's Blade" (live at the CBGB)3:02
11."Iron Swan" (live at the CBGB)5:48
12."March of the Lor" (live at the CBGB)5:06
Total length:56:53


Release history

RegionDateLabelFormatCatalog [13]
United StatesFebruary 14, 2006 Kemado CD album KEM 027 [1]
EuropeMarch 27, 2006KemadoCD albumKEM 032 [14]
United StatesJuly 18, 2006Kemado LP album KEM 029 [1]
EuropeJanuary 29, 2007KemadoLP albumKEM 048 [15]
JapanMay 2, 2007 Toy's Factory CD albumTFCK-87417 [16]

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The Sword discography

The discography of The Sword, an American heavy metal band, consists of five studio albums, one live album, one compilation album, two extended plays (EPs), one box set, twelve singles and ten music videos. Originally formed in Austin, Texas in 2003 by vocalist and guitarist John D. Cronise with guitarist Kyle Shutt, bassist Bryan Richie and drummer Trivett Wingo, the band issued a number of demos before signing with Kemado Records in 2005. In February 2006, the band's debut full-length studio album Age of Winters was released. Following the inclusion of the track on Guitar Hero II, "Freya" was released as a single in 2007. This was followed by a split EP with Swedish band Witchcraft, to which The Sword contributed new track "Sea of Spears" and a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song".

The North American Tour 2005 was a short concert tour by American heavy metal band The Sword. The tour, which was in support of the band's debut extended play (EP) Freya, began on March 30, 2005, ended on April 30, 2005 and included 29 shows played over one month-long leg.

Stoner rock, also known as stoner metal or stoner doom, is a rock music fusion genre that combines elements of heavy metal and/or doom metal with psychedelic rock and acid rock. The name references cannabis consumption. The term desert rock is often used interchangeably with the term "stoner rock" to describe this genre; however, not all stoner rock bands would fall under the descriptor of "desert rock". Stoner rock is typically slow-to-mid tempo and features a heavily distorted, groove-laden bass-heavy sound, melodic vocals, and "retro" production. The genre emerged during the early 1990s and was pioneered foremost by Monster Magnet and the California bands Fu Manchu, Kyuss and Sleep.


  1. 1 2 3 4 "The Sword". Kemado Records. Archived from the original on 2008-06-11. Retrieved 2008-10-04.
  2. "Age of Winters > Overview". allmusic . Retrieved 2008-10-16.
  3. "The Sword - Age Of Winters (CD/Japan)". The Sword. Archived from the original on May 31, 2009. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
  4. "Tour dates 2006". The Sword. Archived from the original on February 6, 2009. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
  5. "Freya/Iron Swan > Overview". allmusic . Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  6. "The Sword: Release Limited Edition Box Set". Sonic Dice. 2008-11-21. Archived from the original on 2008-12-06. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
  7. allmusic review
  8. Blender review
  9. PopMatters review
  10. 1 2 3 Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Age of Winters > Review". allmusic . Retrieved December 19, 2009.
  11. Begrand, Adrien (February 20, 2006). "The Sword: Age of Winters". PopMatters . Retrieved December 19, 2009.
  12. Schroeder, Audra (February 3, 2006). "Winter's Wolves: The Sword's land of ice and snow". The Austin Chronicle . Retrieved December 19, 2009.
  13. "The Sword - Age Of Winters". The Sword. Archived from the original on 6 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
  14. "The Sword - Age Of Winters (CD/Europe)". The Sword. Archived from the original on May 31, 2009. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
  15. "The Sword - Age Of Winters (LP/USA)". The Sword. Archived from the original on May 31, 2009. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
  16. "The Sword" (in Japanese). Toy's Factory Records. Archived from the original on 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2008-10-18.