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Liner Notes: CD Reviews

 published on Thursday, February 23, 2006


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Cast King
Saw Mill Man
(Locust Music)
Four and a half out of five stars

Cast King recorded a few songs for Sun Records -- home to Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis, among others -- way back in the 50s, before disappearing from the music scene. I don't know what he sounded like back then, but Saw Mill Man is a great collection of songs that sound like country should. King, now 79, recorded the album on his front porch, picking his guitar and singing songs about heartache and, well, heartache. The best comparison would be to the late Johnny Cash -- songs like "Wino" and the title track are simple stories brought to life by King's steady voice and Southern accent. In an age when pop country is all about big sound, this is a breath of fresh air. -- benjamin.horowitz@asu.edu


The Sword
Age of Winters
(Kemado Records)
Two out of five stars

With songs called "Lament For The Aurochs" and "March Of The Lor," The Sword MUST be a Scandinavian epic fantasy metal band with killer double-lead guitar solos, soaring vocals and mind-blowing double-bass pedal action, right? Wrong. The Sword's debut album, Age of Winters, sounds more like a lazy version of Black Sabbath. The slow grinding guitar trudges along under the occasional half-assed attempts at double-lead work, as obvious Ozzy rip-off vocals are chanted over the muddle as though he's only singing half-way into the microphone. The Sword makes the occasional attempt to wake up audiences on tracks such as "Iron Swan," but by then it's apparent that this band should not have bothered to make an album. -- adriane.goetz@asu.edu



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