Sordid Blade
Every Battle Has its Glory

Sometimes you stumble across an album that you just know is going to either be a complete and utter hit, or an absolute whiff from listener to listener – there will be no in-between. You either love it like you love your own child, or you want to throw it off a cliff like a Spartan discarding a deformed baby. In a case like this, all I can do is thank my lucky stars that I’m in the former category.

I fucking love this album. I would die for it.

Sordid Blade is the kind of Heavy Metal that comes at you fully clad in chain mail, brandishing the most extravagant, least practical sword or battleaxe possible in the name of all things epic and fantastical. It’s Heavy Metal for the kind of person who spends their free time forging custom, ornamental knives and swords, probably while wearing like, a leather kilt or some shit. It’s the living embodiment of every Heavy Metal dork (myself included) who has posed ridiculously for a photo in the middle of the woods in the name of all things trve and metal.

In case this all hasn’t painted a vivid enough picture for you, Sweden’s Sordid Blade is a two-man project spearheaded by Niklas Holm who’s holding down vocal, guitar, bass and songwriting duties, and backed by drummer Micael Zetterberg. The duo are here with the sole purpose of bringing the world an epic helping of the kind of mid-paced, super-anthemic Heavy Metal that made you fall in love with the likes of Manilla Road, Hammerheartera Bathory and so many others. This might get you thinking, “OK, cool, so uh… why is this a complete hit or miss kind of album then?”

Wellllllll here’s the thing. There’s A LOT of passion going into this project. So much so that, at times, this can almost border a little bit on the side of ridiculousness. For example, while Niklas Holm may not necessarily be the MOST technically proficient singer on the planet, he more than makes up for it with sheer enthusiasm. That said, his vocal stylings are, potentially, a divisive factor. For one thing, my dude rolls his “R’s” A LOT. Personally, I think it’s super endearing and puts a big dumb smile on my face, but I’d understanding if someone might call it a little bit cheesy or ridiculous. Their loss! But, I get it. And there’s some other funky things going on vocal-wise, too. There may be a bit of a linguistic divide or something at play, but sometimes what you hear coming out of your speaker or headphones is nowhere close to what the alleged lyrics say. Prime example: on “Halfway to Heaven,” I swear he’s either saying “Happy to have done” or “How could you have done,” but apparently he’s singing “Halfway to Heaven.” I can’t explain it, you just need to listen to it. It’s weird.

Vocals aside, from a musicianship standpoint, there’s a ton of talent between these two! But hoo boy, the production is all over the place, particularly on the rhythm guitars which often sound recorded off a practice amp or something. I can certainly deal with a fair amount of production deficiency, and Every Battle Has its Glory is hardly unlistenable, but there’s more than a few grating moments, or even really great moments that you just wish sounded better, that you just can’t help but think how friggin’ amazing this would all sound with even just a little bit better recording quality.

But ok, that’s enough of the bad for my liking, because there’s zero sarcasm in my adoration of this album – the biggest reason being Niklas Holm’s ability to write some absolute BANGER metal anthems. The soaring, epic chorus of “Hidden Enthronement” will physically force you to throw an arm around your best Heavy Metal bud and sing along with righteous glee, and don’t even get me started on the clinic Holm puts on with the top notch Proto Metal riffing and melody on display. Weird vocal oddities aside on “Halfway to Heaven,” the main riff rivals anything Eternal Champion or Megaton Sword has yet recorded in it’s ability to get you banging your head and pumping your fists with reckless abandon.

Same can be said for the excellent “Mighty Old Star,” which plods along with the swagger of a kingdom’s greatest and most beloved champion fresh off smiting lesser fools on the battlefield. Truly, Holm’s guitar work is a thing to behold, with fantastic solos and leads that are every bit as indulgent and glorious as you should want with a product like this. If you’re not air-guitaring along on “Every Battle Has its Glory,” somebody better get in there and check your pulse, cuz you ain’t living, buddy.

And that’s the crux of what makes this such a great album. I stand by my prediction that this is a totally hit or miss affair, but if it hits? IT HITS. It’s got just such an infectious energy that keeps drawing you in like a moth to flame. My quibbles with the production quality may be genuine, but in a weird way it does make you want to root for Sordid Blade even harder like they’re the plucky underdogs entering the arena against a sea of titans. I love this band because you can just feel the love these two musicians have for what they’re doing in every note and beat. In that regard, I feel the same way about this band that I felt the first time listening to Greyhawk and fell for their Heavy Metal bleeding heart charms. You can’t help but get caught up in the passion of it all.

At the end of the day, Every Battle Has its Blade is an album from a band well aware of who their audience is, who hellbent on giving it what it wants – glorious Heavy Metal anthems that bury themselves in your head and put a big damn grin on your face. To that end, Every Battle Has its Glory is a ROUSING success.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
October 28th, 2022

Comments

  1. Commented by: F.Rini

    Phenomenal review Steve. We were just talking about this and then your review pops up. Too funny. I love this fucking album – their main influence being Manilla Road. Need I say more. Incredible band.


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