Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Sword's Gods of the Earth CD review

When the Sword emerged in 2006, no one quite knew how to take the Austin-based quartet. Four guys in their mid-20s who sang about wizards and warlocks like they were the little cousins of Ronnie James Dio?!

Now the Sword are back with their second album, Gods of the Earth, and it's something of a retro-metal manifesto. Black Sabbath may be the obvious influence here, but the Sword's style is equally indebted to mid-'80s thrash metal. "The Sundering" and "The White Sea" are built around the kind of staccato, palm-muted riffing popularized by Metallica, Megadeth and others.

Singer/guitarist John D. Cronise and guitarist Kyle Shutt make a formidable axe-wielding duo. Both musicians bring some of the virtuosity that defined the venerable guitar tag-teams of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden into the netherworld of doom metal. Drummer Trivett Wingo, meanwhile, makes it a trifecta. His commanding, punked-out performance recalls monolithic '70s kingpin John Bonham (symphonic gongs, anyone?), while bassist Bryan Richie stays buried in the mix.

If you're looking for a literary equivalent, Gods of the Earth could be the soundtrack for the fearsome black riders in The Lord of the Rings—all galloping thrash-metal riffs accompanied by strangulated, off-key vocals. To the believers, this album will be hailed as the second coming of NWOBHM-inspired thrash/doom. The nay-sayers, meanwhile, will look at titles like "How Heavy This Axe" or "Fire Lances of the Ancient Hyperzephyrians" and know this band may be teetering on the edge of Spinal Tap territory. To each his own…


David Amulet said...

I like the album a lot, although in many places the vocals appear undermixed.

"To Take the Black" is an homage to one of the best parts of George R.R. Martin's "Song of Fire and Ice" series. Perhaps more of the album is, too, but that's the only song I looked up the lyrics for. I love the song, I just wish the vocals were turned up a bit more ...

Andrew said...

Hey Theodore,

I have a few questions for you regarding some Heavy Metal stuff in a few of your posts... I am working on an upcoming Heavy Metal show and i was hoping you could drop me a line so i could ask you a few questions.

My email is please hit me up at your earliest convenience.

Thank you very much,


Seano said...

Hey there, I found you through Mr. Amulet....of course I'm a big fan of the Sword..The album is on my 10 best list for 2008. here's to more beautifully loud music in 2009.....I'm blogrolling you now..seano