The Sword at The El Rey, October 1, 2010

The Sword

I saw something for the first time at The Sword concert, at the El Rey on Friday, October 1: three fans putting all their fists side by side with pinkies up on just the end fists, joining together to make one giant devil’s horn to pump in the air. So instead of \m/, it looked like this \mmmmmm/.

Really, a 6-fist-wide devil’s horn is still not big enough to honor the retro-metal Austin band, The Sword.

The subject matter of The Sword’s music ranges from fantasy–-wizards, warlocks, stories of yore–to a new turn towards sci-fi. The band’s influences range from the holy metal lineage of Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, to the visionary worlds of books like Dune and The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda. And their sound is heavy, loud, guitar rock thunder.

Their newest release Warp Riders stands as a cohesive story about a space dude named Ereth on his space journey, on which “he encounters strange warriors, mysterious witches, ancient androids, and a crew of space pirates with a vessel that will alter the course of history… a vessel known as, The Sword.” (That was from the “Lore” section of The Sword’s website.)

Review continues with photo gallery below.

The Sword started off their set with two songs off of Warp Riders, opening with “Unearthing the Orb” followed by the album’s first single “Tres Brujas.”

Highlights of the show came from the band’s older material, their first two albums Gods of the Earth and Age of Winters. The crowd thrashed and banged over “Maiden, Mother & Crone” and the galloping guitar riffs of “Freya.”

Singer and guitarist J.D. Cronise rocked a vintage Van Halen World Tour baseball-style shirt and Levi’s bell bottoms, and at one point a B.C. Rich double neck guitar. Bassist Bryan Richie was sporting a more random music t-shirt. Genesis?!

The Sword is at once a throw-back and a testament to metal’s fortitude and future. Tailgating in the infinite heavy metal parking lot.