Dr. Chado first introduced me to this band a few months back but only here recently have I really dived into their discs and The Sword’s sound is a sound I can easily get lost in. Make no mistake…if you’re not already on board with doomy Sabbathesque guitar soundscapes, I doubt The Sword will change your mind. Sabbath always was a sound you either liked or didn’t like and the same holds true here.
I like. A lot.
The Sword wears their Black Sabbath influence on their sleeve without ever sounding like rehash. In fact, they’re the band I had always hoped St. Vitus would become, but never quite did.
Power chords, perfect fuzz distortion on the guitar and in my opinion the perfect vocals to go with it…right smack dab in between Ozzy himself and the great John Garcia of Kyuss. In fact, in many ways The Sword bridges the gap between Sabbath and Kyuss. Sabbath was the seminal black cloud of metal (it’s true…and Iommi is a genius) while Kyuss was what you imagined Sabbath would have sounded like had they awakened one morning, taken their happy pills and decided life is okay after all. Only complaint is that once in a while the lead vocals could use just a tad more melodic diversity…but truth be told, they work perfectly about 95% of the time so in the immortal words of Nigel Tufnel: “That’s nit-picking, isn’t it?”
In between the aforementioned bands is the land of The Sword – mythology to the fore but not taken too seriously, rhythms alternately plodding and chugging with hypnotic grandeur. Once again…if you’re on board with this type of music (Fu Manchu, Kyuss, Mastadon, et al) then this disc is a veritable sonic buffet.
Freya is probably the most well known track here due to the cool video, and is one of my faves. Truth is, though, everything here satisfies my indulgent sludgemoods. Opening track Celestial Crown builds up just like you want it to, Freya is just massive, and I just love Winter’s Wolves with the beautifully stereo mixed real wolf howls in the middle of the song.
Extra props for Iron Swan, which opens up with a nice touch of old-school speed metal a-la-Judas Priest before sucking you into a really fine mid-paced chug.
All references to the mighty Sabbath are meant with the utmost respect, as The Sword are one of very few bands that have taken that organic sound and created something identifiable as their own. Just put this one on and let it play…no duff tracks to be found. Thank you again, Dr. Chado
I understand there will be a new CD in 2010.
I can’t wait.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5