The Sword - The Sword (EP)
Stoner-Doom Rock/Metal
3 songs (14:54)
Release year: 2004
The Sword
Reviewed by Ken

A few weeks ago I switched on the metal Music Choice channel and they were playing a new song called “The Sword” by the hardcore band Freya. Weird…they’ve changed…a lot! I thought. Freya are a band featuring ex-members of the now-defunct Earth Crisis—one of the biggest straightedge hardcore bands ever—and both bands aren’t too different in style. So, what is Freya doing playing 70’s Sabbath-inspired, stoner/doom rock? I wondered. Then I figured it out: they weren’t! The band was called The Sword and the song was called “Freya.” All right, one mystery solved…now who the hell are The Sword? Because they’re damn good.

I still don’t know much about this band as there just isn’t much info out there. Their bio is a story of swordsmiths, anvils, battles and blades, which tells me nothing except that maybe they're nerds who like Dungeons & Dragons. I do know, though, that there are four band members that comprise The Sword, they formed in 2003, and are from Austin, Texas. They have a full-length album due on Valentine’s Day called Ages Of Winter and I am eagerly anticipating it’s release. Why? Because this demo and the songs I’ve heard from their upcoming album are all excellent.

After first hearing them I visited their MySpace page and discovered that they previously released an EP through Waterloo Records. It was only $5.99 so I bought it—which is good because I just checked the site while writing this and unfortunately it’s no longer available. So, let us discuss the music, then. Well, to get your bearings take Vol. 4-era Black Sabbath, latter day Clutch and a little bit of Kyuss (and though this is a demo, a whole lot of superior production over anything Kyuss ever released); that should give a rough estimate of where we are on the metal map.

“Celestial Crown / Barael’s Blade” kicks off this little demo EP. The “Celestial Crown” portion is essentially a slow, two-minute, doomy, feedback and sludge-filled intro track that leads into a fast and heavy 70’s rock jam delivered with the stoned ferocity you’d expect from Clutch, not four kids from Texas. The song is excellent and you know you’re listening to something special with this band, music isn’t played like this anymore. “Winter’s Wolves” follows and again begins like a doom song, but quickly brings in that Black Sabbath sound, channeling Tony Iommi from three decades before and even a touch of The Melvins. Another great song.

Saving the best for last, closing the EP is “Iron Swan.” One word description: brilliant! There are basically three parts to this song, it begins with some electric/acoustic picking and a tambourine, this goes on for about a minute, fades, and then the second part kicks in. You can almost sing Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” over the two-pronged riff (“General’s gathered in the masses…”). I said almost. It’s simply too fast, and after about five seconds Trivett Wingo is laying down some drums rolls over Kyle Shutt’s increasingly fast, frenzied picking, and then they’re off! Double bass, killer riffs, and just balls-to-the-wall metal. It slows down a bit after a minute or so, and then it stops…for a second, then you’re assaulted with an awesome mid- to fast-tempo galloping riff and the song doesn’t let up for another three minutes. Throw in some snazzy vocals and melodies, a sweet little solo and you’ve got yourself a damn fine slab of heavy, frenetic rock ‘n’ roll.

The Sword are a band to watch in 2006, they can’t manufacture a band like this, and if they have done so here they—whoever the dubious "they" may be—get my congratulations! Since this EP is no longer available, look out for Ages Of Winter next month on Kemado Records, these three songs have been re-recorded for that album. Plus, it’ll be the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, much better than a worthless card and dying roses.

AUDIO: Iron Swan, Ebethron and Barael’s Blade (these versions come from the upcoming Ages Of Winter full-length, not this EP).

Note: In time these links will likely becoming outdated.

Killing Songs :
Celestial Crown / Barael’s Blade and Iron Swan.
Ken quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by The Sword that we have reviewed:
The Sword - Age of Winters reviewed by Jared and quoted 70 / 100
The Sword - Warp Riders reviewed by Jake and quoted 95 / 100
The Sword - Gods Of The Earth reviewed by Jerrol and quoted 71 / 100
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