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Wraths of Time (1995)

Swordmaster may be best known for featuring the younger brother of Jon Nödtveidt, Emil (Night). Formed in mid-1993, this band was soon signed to Full Moon Productions. After stabilizing the line-up, they began work on their debut release. The Wraths of Time E.P. was recorded in Studio Fredman, in early 1995 and released some months later. Thankfully, the sound is not similar to many of the useless albums that were created there.

"Wraths of Time" begins at full speed, and the first thing that is noticed is the, relatively, strange guitar tone. It definitely has a black metal sound, but it is not as clear as what one might expect. Within a few moments, your ear gets used to it and the tremolo melodies seep into your brain, alternating with some rather epic thrash riffs. In all honesty, the comparison is one I wished to avoid, but these riffs sound as if they'd fit well on Storm of the Light's Bane. The vocals possess the standard raspy sound, though some brief bits of deeper vocals come along near the middle. There are some nice, cold melodies here. Nothing extraordinary, but solid and memorable.

The next song is "Upon Blood and Ashes", which starts with a slower pace and a sorrowful lead solo. It gets moving with a bit of a melancholic thrash riff, before transitioning to faster drums and tremolo riffing. The production favours the guitars over the rest, which is a good thing. The drums keep a steady pace, without dominating the sound. More frozen melodies sweep through, near the middle of the song, leaving a good impression.

"Conspiracy - Preview" is a brief song that starts with a keyboard intro and some indecipherable vocals, before the guitar fades in and plays a mournful riff. This fades into a more intense section that sounds a lot like a sped-up version of "Do or Die", by Testament. It's not bad, but it doesn't really fit in with the rest. It doesn't last long, and the song then fades to nothingness. I'm not sure what it was a preview of, since this song didn't appear on any later release that I know of.

The final track is merely some useless gargling and really adds nothing to the E.P. at all.

In the end, there are two decent songs and a couple throw-away tracks. It's definitely worth checking out, but for less than 15 minutes of music, I wouldn't recommend spending too much for it.

(30 Jan. 2010)

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