The hammer of the gods has switched fists hundreds of times throughout the ages. It now rests in the able hands of the Sword, an Austin-based quartet that embodies everything sacred about classic metal: mystical imagery, pummeling rhythms, and, most important, heavier-than-thou riffage. "I think people are tired of incoherent screaming and are ready for real musicians to sing and play their instruments the way they're supposed to," says drummer Trivett Wingo. "Ideally, the people we play music for just want to stand there and listen. It's not about some texture of sound that you can mosh to."
The Sword's doom-laden debut, last year's Age of Winters, draws equally from Nordic folklore and the work of fantasy authors like George R.R. Martin and Robert E. Howard. It all amounts to epically proportioned and fantastical suites of metallurgy. "The themes of the mythology that we create are very universal and transcendental — life, death, war," says Wingo. "They're systems of symbols to help explain our origin and place in the universe. It's all very human." After nearly 250 live shows in support of Age of Winters, the Sword is now recording a follow-up album, due in March. "It's complex, but not for the sake of the complexity," says Wingo. "It'll be as different from the first record as each of the songs is different from each other." Expect to hear some of the new tunes when the Sword comes to town this week.