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Live By The Sword – Exploring Soldiers Rise

Rebellion Records

It’s been roughly two years since Live By The Sword first teased about their upcoming debut full-length in the form of the “Scars Of The Ages” flexi. This phono sheet, which was thrown in for free with every webshop order at Rebellion Records if I remember correctly, contained a demo-version of the song with the same title and obviously supplied a taste of things to come.

Despite this teaser, the actual album – which will finally see the light of day in a matter of weeks (it’s the 14th of January when I write this) – still blew me away! Regular readers know I’m a big fan of Live By The Sword’s vile and dangerous sound, but with the rock and metal influences rising more than ever to a prominence tend, the band sounds bigger, bolder and better than ever before – with “Exploring Soldiers Rise” being the absolute pinnacle of it all!

Delivering a vibrant mix of heavy and blackened riffs, hard rockin’ solos, atmospheric soundscapes and of course a hefty dose of thunderous Oi!, Live By The Sword was able to implement every idea – or at least most of them – into a single record! Combining styles of music I personally love and listen to myself for most of the time, the result is both massive and amazing, a dark yet glorious revolt against the modern world, and in general just an album I can listen to over and over again!

Like a thousand swords clattering on the battlefield, the wall of sound on “Exploring Soldiers Rise” is impressive, to say the least. Thriving for victory and eternal glory, Live By The Sword’s debut LP contains a total of eight anthems, who not just happen to be the band’s best work to date musically, but vocally as well. American frontman Erick Barnes exceeds all his previous work, whether for Strongarm And The Bullies or Live By The Sword, by miles, giving you a mighty sense of pride and triumph while singing along – love it!

Now if you would ask me what my favorite track off “Exploring Soldiers Rise” would be, I’d have to answer with “The Great Mountain”. The superb guitar melodies, its atmospheric interlude, the black metal influenced riffage... very sick indeed! Though the remaining seven scorchers – namely “Exploring Soldiers Rise”, “As History Unfolds”, “A Glorious Iron Blaze”, “Into A New Dark Age”, “Whispers Of A Vicious Kind” (that vintage sounding hardrock intro rips!), “The Inevitable Fall” and “Scars Of The Ages” (which sounds much more powerful than the initial demo-version) – obviously rip shit up as well!

If you liked Live By The Sword’s previous releases, or are into bands such as Battle Ruins, Hammer And The Nails, Vis Vires or Killed By Death, you will love “Exploring Soldiers Rise”! Needless to say, but this is an absolute must-have that will be available on CD or either ultra clear vinyl with silver and aqua blue splatter or limited black vinyl, housed in a beautiful glossy, gatefold sleeve. Buy or die!