Tuesday 29 Jul

Power Pyramid - The God Drums

Power Pyramid doesn’t have much patience for nonsense. That appears to be the takeaway from the Oklahoma City quintet’s last 10 months, which brought The God Drums in September, the Insomnia EP in January and its latest, self-titled effort in July.

07/29/2014 | Comments 0

TJ Mayes - "When Love Comes Down"

’50s era rock ’n’ roll had been long overdue for a rebirth. Thankfully, the stockpile of capable luminaries has not been in short supply over the past few years. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Boare - "playdatshit"

The world is in the midst of an electronic music renaissance, and you find most of this boon of producers laying claim to the club-friendly, bass-dropping variety, holing up in the the free-flowing world of hip-hop beatmaking or pitching their tent on the out-there, boundary-pushing EDM camp.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broncho - "Class Historian"

Broncho has never been hurting in the hook department. The success of the trio’s 2011 debut, Can’t Get Past the Lips, was predicated mostly on its ability to marry melodies with kinetic guitar riffs and anarchic energy. Yet we’ve heard nothing to the degree of pure pop catchiness on display in “Class Historian,” the new single from Broncho’s upcoming sophomore album, Just Enough Hip to Be Woman.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Swordplay


Forged of metal, The Sword unsheathes music that takes the genre beyond its usual audience.

Joshua Boydston February 10th, 2011

The Sword with Eagle Claw and Rainbows Are Free
8 p.m. Friday
ACM@UCO Performance Lab, 323 E. Sheridan

If you are looking for a metal mentor, you could do a lot worse than J.D. Cronise, vocalist, guitarist and lead songwriter of heavy metal three-piece The Sword, and he’s got your very first lesson right here.

“When you start a band, you say, 'I want a band that sounds like,' then you fill in that blank,” Cronise said. “You start from there, write your first batch of songs and it's not actually going to sound like that. Then you take what you've got and go from there.

“And If you are a metal band, you always start with the intention of sounding like Black Sabbath. You just have to.”

The Sword has been one of the most successful heavy metal bands of the past 10 years, releasing three albums, landing tracks on the “Guitar Hero” games, opening for Metallica and finding an audience that goes beyond pure metal fans.

Coming up through the music hub of Austin, Texas, helped, but Cronise added that smart planning is what allowed them to move beyond central Texas.

“If you actually are smart and motivated, it's a good place to be. There are a lot of people who are one or the other or neither ... and they just end up spinning their wheels a lot,” he said. “They can get local shows, but can never take off from there. You need to have an idea, something to do.”

It’s a perfect storm of other elements that have helped them up to this point as well, starting with the pitch-perfect, surprisingly (sort of) unclaimed name of the group.

“I was a little surprised, but it kind of had been taken,” Cronise admitted. “There was a band just called Sword that released a few albums, but I thought that was a rather primitive take on it, just calling your band Sword. No offense to them, but it sounds a little caveman-ish ... even though cavemen didn't have swords. To me, the 'the' is just as important as the sword. We aren't Sword; we're The Sword.”

The name suited the act’s purist form of heavy metal, and the vintage — but innovative — style has endeared it to more than Motörhead diehards. The Sword is as revered in indie circles as hard-rock ones, and Cronise thinks he knows why.

“If you look at the bands that have a crossover appeal and then look at the ones that don't, you can see a difference there,” he said. “There's a difference in attitude and approach. They seem to be a lot more anger-driven, in-your-face screaming and growling. I'd like to think we are a little more cerebral version of heavy metal.”

That came out even clearer with The Sword’s latest release, “Warp Riders,” centered on a full, original, science-fiction narrative conceived by Cronise, who claimed that it was a natural fit with the trio’s musical roots.

“Metal appeals to the same audience: people who like to fantasize about unreal things and want to play loud guitars,” he said. “You could write an essay, even a thesis, on the relationship between comic books, science fiction and heavy metal.”

“Warp Riders” has been almost universally praised for its originality and gripping score; it also helped The Sword land a personal-best spot on the Billboard charts.

The band — which performed at last year’s Norman Music Festival — is now touring in support of the disc, and Cronise is still savoring the praise.

“I was a little apprehensive at first,” he said. “I could have seen people deciding this whole idea was really stupid and never giving it a chance, but it’s been really well-received. It’s validating.” —Joshua Boydston | photo/Joshua Boydston
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5