Don’t Drop The Sword is undoubtedly one of the bands with whom the Epic Metal Blog has a very special relationship: If you take a look at our history, you will notice that the last output of the German epic speed metal formation, the single Prophecies Carved in Sand, was one of the first reviews we published in November 2020. But this release is to be returned to in detail in the course of the following lines….
Another aspect that connects us closely with the quintet is our Epic Metal Night, which we had the pleasure of hosting in February of the current year thanks to From Beyond Events. Don’t Drop The Sword, who were still largely unknown to many visitors at that time, thrilled everyone present at the Helvete with a magnificent performance. However, this was not the crucial factor for us: Rarely before have we met such a likeable band with whom one gets along so well right away. As you can see, this EP, Prelude to the Age of Heroes, is something special for us – especially since we were able to listen to parts of the new material at the sound check and the subsequent concert in Oberhausen a good three months ago.
As the name of this EP already suggests, we are dealing with a foretaste of the band’s following full length. A special aspect is that rhythm guitarist Korbi celebrates his debut on a Don’t Drop The Sword release. The career from noble fan to band member is fortunately always possible in the underground if you have the necessary talent – this is unquestionably the case with the new man on board, as we were already able to experience live at the aforementioned Epic Metal Night.
But let’s take a look at the songs: “Sands of Time“ offers the epicness on the lyrical level that we appreciate so much on this blog. The band writes on the really very informative promo sheet:
The opener is about an ancient Egyptian legend, according to which every night there is a battle between a huge snake and several gods – if the snake wins, it devours the sun and the world is left in darkness.
Looking at the current world situation, one would think that the snake won a few months ago, but that’s another topic…. Musically, “Sands of Time“ captures the theme marvellously. In essence, it’s a classic Don’t Drop The Sword composition that pushes forward properly, convinces with powerful drumming as well as inventive riffing and is ultimately crowned by a magnificent chorus. You can’t get “Sands of Time“ out of your head after just a few listens. The tune doesn’t wear out quickly at all – this is primarily due to its rich variety, which is expressed in Anti’s versatile vocals, among other things. But this is also due to the fact that we are not dealing with more or less banal speed metal, but with sophisticated music, which should also please one or two prog friends (who don’t like it too wacky now).
The second number “The Eye of the World“ refers to “the eponymous first book of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time saga“ (again taken from the promo sheet). Musically, it is similarly elaborate as the opener – those who like Don’t Drop The Sword will enjoy it, not least because of the characteristic melody line. But I think that the musicians have improved even more compared to the previous releases, because there are more nuances to be discovered in the songs and the guys are, in my opinion, even better harmonised as a band. You get the impression that there’s a dedicated collective at work here, just playing whatever they feel like.
“Prelude“ is not a full-fledged song, but (promo sheet!) “a narrative preview of the upcoming album” – you can definitely look forward to Age of Heroes afterwards, the degree of epicness seems to have been increased once again. I really enjoy the acoustic guitars – and the choirs are a pleasure to listen to! All in all, a very original way to make the fans’ mouths water.
The last two songs are not new, as they are from the above-mentioned release Prophecies Carved in Sand, which, however, was not available in physical form until now. Since both numbers are really great, as you can read in my review, I am very happy to now have a stylish digipack with the title track and the great Blind Guardian cover “Traveler in Time“ in my hands.
Okay, now I haven’t managed to review a Don’t Drop The Sword release without mentioning Krefeld’s finest… – but that’s impossible in this case. While we’re at it: Yes, those who find Hansi, André and Co. too opulent since the turn of the millennium have come to the right place with Don’t Drop The Sword. Especially “Prophecies Carved in Sand“ would have cut a pretty good figure on any Blind Guardian release in the 90s…
Conclusion: Don’t Drop The Sword are undoubtedly one of the most exciting bands the German underground currently has to offer. Above all, their melodic skills are excellent and ensure that they already have a number of hits in their luggage, which should actually allow them to take a good place on the billing of medium-sized festivals in the foreseeable future. The old heroes are perishing, Anti, Max, Korbi, Mathias and Dom are definitely among the new heroes for us, at least since the Epic Metal Night. And now get the album out soon!