It doesn't happen very often that people who collect back issues of Heavy Metal and the hipsters at SXSW hype the same band, but that's exactly what transpired when Austin natives the Sword delivered a breakout performance at last year's festival. A four-piece with the soul-sucking sonics of a classic NWOBM (New Wave of British Metal) five-piece, they are the new heroes of retro-metal, complete with blazing twin guitars that are more Adrian Smith and Dave Murray (Iron Maiden) than Glen Tipton and K.K. Downing (Judas Priest). Lead singer J.D. Cronise is capable of delivering an Ozzy-like whine or a Hetfield-vs.-Mustaine-like scolding. Whatever reason the post-irony crowd gives you for digging Gods of the Earth (the Swords' latest, on Kemando), they're full of it. The Sword cut through such pretentious armor like the Black Blade through butter. —
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