July 25, 2013
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Roy Turner
Photos by Roy Turner
Crank Up The Amps, And Let The Ass-kickin' Begin!
There's something really powerful about the sight of a line of Orange amplifiers about to be turned up to 11, and soon the ass-kicking will begin. The Granada Theater in Dallas, Texas was the place, and the band was the one and only, The Sword!
In heavy metal, nothing is more potent than the almighty guitar riff. The Sword currently seem to be drawing from a bottomless well of massively heavy and unforgettable riffage, and to see them unsheathed to perform a thunderously loud set of tunes is truly a sight to behold.
Not only does The Sword have a killer back catalogue and solid new release, Apocryphon, but now they even have their own brand of beer. Yes, that's right - this was not a record release show but a beer release with the towering (and a bit harp-y for my taste) Iron Swan Ale.
This band is great live and play a kind of rock that is always better live than on any recorded format. One of the main reasons is John Cronise the singer, rythym guitarist, who has such a distinct and monstrous voice that defies his skinny, totally-from-Austin look. The new tracks are good and strike a nice balance between the crunchiness on the band's older albums and their more technical direction on Warp Riders. However, it was the songs that are becoming the band's classics that got the biggest reaction from the crowd: Freya, Tres Brujas, Maiden, Mother, & Crone, and Barael's Blade had fans singing, head banging and just going nuts.
They are just so dialed in to a specific spirit that combines cult nostalgia of the 70s & 80s with something that is so totally all theirs, while giving a knowing nod in those directions. You should have heard the crowd pop when right in the middle of Ebethron came the familiar opening riff to Rush's Working Man followed by them playing the entire song before seamlessly going right back into the song they started. Masterful.
The title track from their most recent LP, Apocryphon, rounded out their set. Before the band returned for an encore, which was highlighted by the closing number that bears their beer's title, Iron Swan, a speed metal monster from Age of Winters, you can see their fingers raced over the fretboards of their B.C. Rich guitars and Flying Vs, that even the crowd of fans matched them, riff for riff.
Veil of Isis
Arrows in the Dark
Cloak of Feathers
How Heavy This Axe
Maiden, Mother & Crone
Ebethron (including Rush's Working Man & snippets of By-Tor & the Snow-Dog)
March of the Lor