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.