Thursday May 10th, 2018, the Opera House in Toronto hosted The Sword as part of Canadian Music Week. They are a metal band out of Austin, Texas formed in 2003. Their popular contemporaries are bands like Clutch and Red Fang. The songs are reminiscent of classic metal inspired by bands like Black Sabbath, yet with subject matter akin to Norse mythology and other literary lore. They are certainly inspired by the fantastical and their playing has the ability to draw the listener to another realm. They accomplished this at the Opera House most definitely.
The Opera House had a packed floor full of longtime fans. The demographic is limited but devoted. If one is looking to meet a bearded white man in his 30s that was definitely the place to be. The Sword opened strongly with "Seven Sisters", setting the tone for the rest of the show. They are straight to the point and play the quintessential metal that they are known for, but the nuances between songs was indicative of the album eras. The subtleties of the tones and nuances that make them unique are also nods to their inspirations and what their songs are written about in terms of science fiction and the like. It is verging on the surreal, and yet have firm roots in the archetypes that are well known in the cultural paradigm of Western literature.
The fast paced traditionally metal tunes they played were pleasantly contrasted with slower melodic tunes that were closer to metal psychedelia. There was wild headbanging hair, moshing, and signs of the horns more so than cell phones. The set was a homogeneous mixture of songs from their new Used Future album with popular songs from albums like Warp Riders and Apocryphon. Used Future has not been as well received critically as their other albums, some reviews saying their vitality as a metal band is lost within this album. Despite this, they are known for experimenting with their own sound, swaying more between heavy metal, to hard rock as in Warp Riders. They have never been a strictly metal band. As a whole, Used Future is a groovy album that holds the qualities that fans know and love, such as in the signature Sword riffs and doom vocals. It falls more into the stoner metal genre that is now gaining traction in the metal scene.
Although their albums are decreasing in success, they stand as a true rock and metal band that still puts on a vastly enjoyable and exciting live show. Their fans are incredibly dedicated to both the band and the genre. Their place on the circuits and the industry stands firm. As a whole, Used Future is a good album that holds the qualities that fans know and love, such as in the riffs and doom vocals. The Sword was a badass live show that inspired excitement and feelings of sci-fi fantasy. It is recommended to check them out next time they're in town, and get Used Future at your local record store. They do not disappoint.