By Jessica Cassyle Carr
The Sword Age of Winters (Kemado)
This band really knows how to take you back to the days when unicorns roamed the earth, beautiful maidens were waiting for you to save them from dungeons and evil sorceresses lived atop jagged mountains with disproportionate amounts of lightning. Every track of this retro metal from "Mount Fantasy" (a.k.a. Austin) is skull-crushing. Others, like "Iron Swan," are total fist-pumping shred fests. If you choose to unlock the power, I predict Age of Winters will grow on you like a magical beanstalk. Before you know it, your beautiful hair will be long and flowing and you will wield an enchanted weapon as you battle a mighty beast. You f--ing dork.
Various Artists Gospel Music (Hyena Records)
I'm definitely not cool on Christ, but I haven't heard music this powerful in some time. You might even say I've got the spirit. Plucked from the collection of friends Lee Friedlander and Joel Dorn who met in the '60s as employees of Atlantic records, the 18 tracks from "the golden age of gospel" are simple but driven by enormous vocals: Many of the songs contain just a quiet organ, piano or guitar in the background to accompany the singer. Others contain jazzy, improvised instrumentation and enthusiastic beats you could dance to. All I have to say is that, compared to this album's quality, today's vapid Christian music must make Jesus cry.
Morningwood Morningwood (Capitol)
Go to hell, "Morningwood," your album is utterly irritating; it's the rock version of the Pussycat Dolls. P.S. Thanks for ripping off Albuquerque ska band, Morningwood (now Morningwood XXX).
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