Review Summary: Storytelling is going to last forever.
Despite a revolving door of members Doomsword has continued to release a steady display of musicianship over the course of the band’s career. From their self-titled in 1999 (which in all honesty missed the mark but not by much) to their claim to fame Let Battle Commence
in 2003, the music has been steady, with strong lyrical themes supporting this excellent level of storytelling. Enter, The Eternal Battle
and it’s clear right from the start that not much has changed. The album is ambitious, without becoming over-bearing and triumphs where most other groups become ‘corny’ or tiring. To describe their sound the listener must first look at the era in which Doomsword began. Acts like Grand Magus and Cirith Ungol are likely to be at the top of the listeners’ ‘sounds like’ list keeping in mind that the music has a simplistic 80s style to it. These two acts came straight out of Sabbath-era hard rock with Cirith Ungol finishing up near the beginning of 1992. These Italian doom rockers as well as many others would cite Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and some Iron Maiden influences whilst at the same time trying to blend their own sound into the mix.
Where Doomsword is able to separate it from its fellows in in its contextual tendencies; themes of battle, gods having colossal wars, other mythology and other soldiery themes are present throughout the record. Not only do these themes present the listener with some strong storytelling, it also ties the record together. Let’s get one thing straight here; these guys may not be the best in the business but from what they have to offer they might just start to receive some attention. Passages are bouncy, catchy and memorable in design – this all works for Doomsword, and more importantly the listener. Even their songs are appropriately named; the band isn’t trying to hide behind any gimmickry. Rather, with track titles like ‘Wrath of the Gods’, ‘Battle At the End of Time’ and ‘Song of the Black Sword’ these guys are the gimmick – in one complete set making for an enjoyable listen. The album itself may be far from colossal but that’s not what they’re going for.
Where the record comes together is in its instrumental design. Take a moment to absorb the guitar lines, interlaying chords and tasteful licks. Notice how the drum kit isn’t always present and how the bass doesn’t push at the listener but is still noticeable throughout. There is enough here that the album could push through mid-tempo without become the slightest bit boring. Overall, this album highlights a complete package. Excellent instrumental passages combined with a quality production that’s clear enough to reinforce the wobble of the bass guitar and some strong storytelling capable of painting a vibrant image in the mind’s eye of the listener. The Eternal Battle
showcases just how the traditional doom genre can be juxtaposed with viking/battle metal themes reassuring to the listener that storytelling does still have a viable place in making metal albums.