Metal shows are no longer solely a refuge of longhairs in black shirts, coated in white grease paint, parsing cryptic Nordic iconography: Half this crowd will be the cool kids in the black hoodies. Reactions of those who've now devoted decades to topics like death vs. doom and stoner vs. sludge range from cheated ("We've been here all along") to elated ("We knew we were right all along").
Still, such trans-market relocation has opened the genre to some righteous new bands, the Sword foremost among them. The Austin quartet boasts a mudsucking bottom section that drains lifeblood like a lamprey in hot water, along with a love of both spiraling midrange riffs and half-speed chugging, playing live like a southern beast breathing volume. Opener Trivium throws twisted power-riffs and naked, pounding bass lines like they're a dime a dozen. They kind of are.