The Sword is a band on the rise. Following its critically acclaimed debut, 2006’s Age of Winters, the release of Gods of the Earth has seen the group not only invited to play 2008’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival but also landed in the opening slot on Metallica’s July tour of Europe—worthy accomplishments for any hungry metal band.
Their latest picks up exactly where Age of Winters left off. This is not the “mall metal” of corporate radio and the newsstand glossies. Instead of down-tuned one-finger riffs, drum triggers and feigned suburban anger, The Sword brings intricate songs that borrow from foundations built by metal pioneers Priest, Maiden and Slayer. Lyrics set a tone—“The Frost-Giant’s Daughter,” for instance, references one of Robert Howard’s earliest Conan stories—but the words don’t get in the way of extended passages featuring heavy riffs and harmonized guitar leads.
Ignore any rumors from the bitter underground that The Sword is a group of indie posers making a poor attempt at being “true metal” in order to cash in. This genre is no path to riches, and they do it far too well to be faking. While offering nothing particularly original, The Sword has nonetheless crafted an excellent, modern take on vintage heavy metal. (Chris LaTray)
The Sword plays the Badlander Wednesday, April 23, at 9 PM, $10/$8 in advance.