I’ve listened to a friend rave about The Sword for months. Typically not one to pick up a metal CD, I was wary. But after Gods of the Earth, I’m a convert. The Austin, Texas, quartet plays metal the way Russians play chess: with a clear understanding of where every piece is, and where it should be. No one steps out of line or spends too much time at the mic.
From the first mood-building guitar lick on “The Sundering” to the distorted electric outro of “The White Sea,” Gods of the Earth promises a softer breed of metal leveled at a broader audience. Absent are the growls and throaty screams of the death metal band next door. The Sword opts for vocal stylings more akin to the harder side of Jethro Tull. Even through the distortion, every note and every word is crisp. Nothing is lost.
That isn’t to say metal fans will be disappointed. The Sword offers everything from the genre and more, with headbanger beats and occult themes. But they mix it up, throwing in a round of acoustic guitar or two. One thing’s certain: The Sword is a musical chess match not to be missed live.
The Sword plays The Palace Thursday, Oct. 30, at 9 PM with Le Force and Year Long Disaster. $12/$10 advance.