Somewhere within the hallowed sounds of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Slayer comes the heavy metal band from Austin, Texas, The Sword. Formed in 2003, 'Gods Of The Earth' is their second full length release. It's loaded with chunky riffs that are filled out with some fine acoustic and electric guitar licks. The sound is deep and sometimes plodding enough to remind you of doom metal. The mix seems muted even muddy at times, particularly in the vocals. However, overall, 'Gods Of The Earth' is quintessential and creative heavier metal from The Sword. Spin magazine remarked that they sound 'like a bunch of bison being pushed over a cliff.' An apt description which The Sword quickly included on their My Space 'Sounds like.'
Honestly, I can't say that I was impressed throughout. After awhile, the deep plodding delivery gets a bit monotonous. Yet, there is some great tracks on this work particularly 'How Heavy This Axe,' 'Lords,' 'Maiden, Mother, & Crone,' and 'The Black River.' I could do without 'To Take The Black' and 'Under The Broughs,' not necessarily the most inspiring stuff. The longest song, entirely instrumental, 'The White Sea,' probably delivers the best heavy metal on the entire work. If there are hints of Iron Maiden (or Black Sabbath, for that matter) in The Sword's music, it is in this song. It's epic and nearly progressive in scope.
Call The Sword 'the little metal band from Texas that could.' 'Gods Of The Earth' is a fine accomplishment. My only reservations were in the obvious certainty of style from song to song and the muddled vocals. Yet, this is very good American metal, surprisingly different than a lot of other stuff coming from my native land. Recommended!
- Craig Hartranft
The Sword comes from Austin, Texas, delivering heavy metal with power and creativity. Hardly perfect, 'Gods Of The Earth' is still a pleasing addition to the American metal scene, even though at times it may seem repetitious in style and substance. It deserves your attention.