Across The Atlantic #2 - The Sword
Metal and all its associated genres have a tough time. Always laughed at and made fun of by the Indie and mainstream boys in the playground of music, they get a rough ride. Some of it is not altogether unjustified, but there is a certain movement in America at the moment to resurrect the Metal genre, spin some new life into is dark and battered body.
At the front of this new wave of (insert clichéd nu-metal joke here) Metal we have The Sword hailing from Austin, Texas who are unafraid to rock like a beast and twist Metal into a listenable mix. Sure, at times, they pander to the associated trappings of Metal; the influence of mythology, the damsel in distress album covers (see below) but there's something enjoyable about listening to their music.
Their influences are pretty obvious the first time you hear them - there's plenty of Black Sabbath riffs to keep an Osborne follower happy, but on repeated listens you can pick out others entwining their way into the mix. There are some nods to Motorhead, Led Zeppelin and the prog-rock behemoths of the 70's. The track Freya is a brutal, basic stomp through the history of metal, nodding frantically as they pass their predecessors. Iron Swan has an almost Metallica riff coursing through it's veins whilst the other guitars duel around it after an acoustic guitar opening. There's an element of "stoner" rock to the vocals too reminding me of Kyuss and early Queens of the Stone Age. All these influences are channelled through these extreme riffs at a hedonistic pace - their ability lies in mixing these influences in their own style, their live performances getting them rave reviews at this years SXSW festival.
If you're looking for indie anthems then look elsewhere, but whilst the majority of indie-rock bands get all mellow on us, it's nice to know you can still get a metal fix from somewhere.