"Pirates or Ninjas, Sabbath or Zepp” is one of my favorite games to play when out. Developed over several drinks with a good friend, our careful research has exposed that often Zepp fans prefer ninjas and Sabbath fans identity more with pirates. Like all things, the theory has some flaws, but findings thus far support the premise. What does this have to do with the Sword, you may ask. The very fact that you can approach a random hipster out at a bar and they have a working knowledge of Sabbath seems to be an interesting and telling change. Black Mountain and Dead Meadow teamed up on tour to bring the heavy psych metal, Early Man, the 2-piece brother metal ensemble have recently released their debut through Matador and Kemado has snatched up the Sword and will be releasing their self titled debut, fittingly, on Valentines Day. Nothing says I love you better than an album with head-banging inducing tracks titled “The Horned Goddess” and the D&D-esque majesty of “Barael’s Blade,” “March of the Lor,” and “Lament for the Auroch.” OK. I don’t know what most of those words mean, but few bands commit to creating their own world as much as the Sword seem to. Their websites’ URL is “Sword of Doom” (http://www.swordofdoom.com/) for fucks sake.
I saw the Sword for the first time on Saturday night at the Glasshouse in Brooklyn. An unconventional venue, it bills itself as a community art space, has walls they encourage guests to paint on, and somehow a friend left with fresh red paint on his coat. An unconventional night into early morning - the band didn’t take the stage until 12:30 as the night’s events were thrown off course by the influx of people in the neighborhood dressed in full face paint and angel wings for, I kid you not, a Burning Man reunion being held the floor above the venue. When the Sword took the stage, hippies and E-freaks that stumbled into the venue by accident ran for the hills. The Sword aren’t about good vibes and sharing the love. They are fucking evil. Two members on stage, two on the floor, long hair being thrashed about, the Sword brought the audience out of the too-well-lit art space and into a world where it’s not strange to hear wolves howl over a track (“Winter’s Wolves”). Last night at Mercury, the whole band fit on the stage, the sound was marginally better, there were less people in face paint milling about, but the Sword still had the crowd rocking their heads in unison. Tonight is your last chance to see the Sword in NYC when they will (likely) decimate Lit. Preview two tracks over at their MySpace page and start a mosh pit in your cubicle.