I’ve been doing many older song picks for The 31 Days of Rocktober so now it’s time to check in on the current state of metal. Going with a rapidly rising band out of Austin who just released their fourth album Monday.
The Sword is a metal quartet who were introduced to me a few years ago by my friend Brandon, a total pro loan agent on my team who has three kids and is a model family man. But he’s also a model metalhead who will never let the banker’s clothes fully contain his headbanging roots. This guy knows his musical lineage and he was grilling me one night about sub, sub, sub genres of metal. Once he finished his cross examination, he said I must add The Sword to my collection, no questions asked.
I started with their debut 2006 album Age of Winters, and was first hooked by a song called Lament for the Aurochs, a doom metal template if there ever was one: an eight minute opus of hypnotic, cascading guitar riffs bridged by harder sequences and intriguing but cryptic lyrics (turns out aurochs are an extinct ancestor of the modern day cow).
Rolling Stone has compared The Sword to Black Sabbath, and The Sword will certainly take that, but frontman JD Cronise added this in Rolling Stone’s review Monday of the band’s new album Apocryphon:
“I think it’s more diverse musically. It’s a little more a rock album than previous records – there’s not really any kind of thrashy metal stuff on it. We’re older dudes now, not quite as full of piss and vinegar as we once were. We dialed back the aggression to a degree, at least for a lot of it, in favor of trying to write good songs. And make it heavy. Basically, the main goal was to make good songs that people remember, not relying so much on a sound or a particular type of approach.”
I just bought the album and haven’t fully absorbed it yet, but so far it’s just like he says: ten heavy rock songs that get better with each listen.
Here’s the title track from the new album Apocryphon which, by the way, means “hidden teachings.” Kind of like I got from Brandon, a guy whose clients only know him as an ace mortgage banker who shows them the way. But I’m lucky enough to learn his broader curriculum. And now I pass the teachings to you. Listen up, so you can talk trash when The Sword becomes the next big rock band. It’s only a matter of time…
– Apocryphon – by The Sword (youtube)