AOTW: The Sword

The Sword, an alternative metal band born out of Austin Texas, has enjoyed considerable success in recent years given that their song “The Black River” from their second album God’s of the Earth was featured in the hit video game series Guitar Hero on the Metallica version, and their song “Celestial Crown” found its way onto the soundtrack of Diablo Cody’s 2009 motion picture, Jennifer’s Body.

The Sword have come a long way with their heavy metal infused sound. Soon after penning the lyrics to the debut album Age of Winters, the band’s principal songwriter/ guitarist, J. D. Cronise, courted the talents of drummer Trivet Wingo, and guitarist Kyle Shutt in 2003.  Age of Winters, laced with zombie vocals, dark chords, and lyrics about Norse Mythology, put the band at the forefront of the retro-metal movement. The comparisons to Black Sabbath are unavoidable, as most heavy metal bands squirm with the DNA of the largely successful 1960s English rock band, originally fronted by Ozzy Osborne.

Warp Riders, the latest release from the band, is perhaps their most produced album yet, with a cleaner, compressed sound and less emphasis on vocals in favor of powerful guitar riffs and soloing. The album, which was produced by Matt Bayles (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, The Fall of Troy, Isis), is based around an original science fiction narrative. The cover art by Dan McPharlin, of a spaceship maneuvering past an asteroid amidst a red ethos, is every bit as inventive as the songwriting. It also gives the album the look of a vintage sci-fi paperback novel. What’s more, each song furthers an intricate story that at times can seem dense, requiring more than a cursory listen. Overall, the album is more mainstream and accessible than their previous releases, particularly because of “Tres Brujas” and “Night City” which could easily fall into heavy rotation on the radio. The Sword are guaranteed to make legions of new fans with this seriously good record.

Upcoming Tour Dates

Sep. 15 – Rod Laver Arena w/ Metallica – Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Sep. 16 – Rod Laver Arena w/ Metallica – Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Sep. 18 – Acer Arena w/ Metallica – Sydney, Australia
Sep. 21 – Canterbury Arena w/ Metallica – Christchurch, Canterbury, England
Sep. 22 – Canterbury Arena w/ Metallica – Christchurch, Canterbury, England
Oct. 1 – El Rey Theater – Los Angeles, CA
Oct. 2 – The Regency – San Francisco, CA
Oct. 3 – The Roseland – Portland, OR

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– Ugonna Igweatu


One response to “AOTW: The Sword

  1. These guys are the anti-thesis of alternative metal. Please do not continue spreading such nonsense. I like to think a band’s genre (if one can be pinned down) means something and by diluting a genre’s meaning we the adventurous music listeners lose precious information that help us determine where to explore next.

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