SORDID BLADE "Every Battle Has Its Glory"

By Dr. Abner Mality

This debut album from SORDID BLADE is a real creeper. No, that doesn't mean they are sexual degenerates...rather, they've created an album that takes a while to make its full impact known. It gets off to an average start but gradually pulls you in with some subtle songwriting and an honest approach.

The band is a two man Swedish outfit that places themselves firmly in the "epic metal" vein. They unabashedly draw influence from CANDLEMASS, Viking-era BATHORY and MANILLA ROAD and you can hear traces of all that and more over the course of "Every Battle Has Its Glory". There's a soothing, unobtrusive acoustic intro that morphs into the galloping pace of "Unbreakable Bonds". It's pretty obvious that singer Niklas Holm, who also plays all stringed instruments, is not going to be giving Rob Halford or Geoff Tate any sleepless nights. His voice is plain and unremarkable throughout, but the vocal lines are subtly appealing and listenable. Where Holm really excels is his guitar soloing, which is outstanding.

Despite the "epic metal" sound, none of the tracks are immense monoliths in the vein of BATHORY or ATLANTEAN KODEX. Not one track exceeds six and a half minutes in length, yet that epic feel is written in SORDID BLADE's DNA. The album really starts to take off with "Hidden Enthronement", which has a lusty gallop reminiscent of MANILLA ROAD. This is the song where I realized there was something in the band worth listening to. From there, each track unveils its own personality and power, with more excellent soloing, strong drumming and plain yet effective vocals. When "Lonesome Rider" finally reaches its destination, you realize that "Every Battle Has Its' Glory" is a lot better than you probably thought it was at first.