Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Smoulder - The Sword Woman (2018)

With warriors' blades and adventurers' hearts Smoulder rides forth to bring us epic doom from the north! ... So long as you're somewhere south of Toronto, otherwise it's epic doom from some other direction. Their debut release "The Sword Woman" strikes thrice with three tracks of sinister might, each one darker than the last. The band must have dipped into a witch's smoking cauldron because every song has a deadly kind of magic brewing and bubbling within. There's a beautiful swirl of darkness to the sword and sorcery themes and the guitar leads emerge from every angle infused with faded starlight. The title track kicks things off by swinging a heavy hammer at slow, even pace with lyrics inspired by and lifted from the Robert E. Howard story of the same name. Its style makes it an incredible soundtrack for any of Howard's fantasy writings, be it Conan, Red Sonja, or whatever gets your blood boiling. When the refrain calls out "I sell my sword to the highest bidder to ride with my brethren" it's nearly impossible not to sing along. Afterwards "Voyage of the Sun Chaser" conjures a sorcerous metal assault with mystic and commanding vocal melodies laying on top. The final track on here is a cover of Nightmare's "The King Is Gone" re-titled "The Queen Is Gone" - the original already burned with a fantastic, wicked power but Smoulder has found a way to make it even darker and deeper, exposing the doom that once lay dormant! This is a must for anyone into heavy sounds, fantasy, and epic doom. It's got me drooling over what a full-length might sound like, so I'm hoping that's coming next! -Brandon

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