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Guitarist for The Sword says metal band's name ‘just looks good'

Justin Paprocki
McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

If your band performs songs with names like "Fire Lances of the Ancient Hyperzephyrians" and "How Heavy This Axe," you had better have a name that can back up their bombast.

Something like: The Sword.

Not just "A Sword." The Sword.

"No one's been in a band called 'The Sword' before," said guitarist Kyle Shutt. "So many bands have, like, eight syllable names. The Sword. It just looks good."

The Sword formed in the music-friendly town of Austin, Texas, four years ago; they quickly secured a following and a spot at South By Southwest in 2005. Since that time, they've released two albums, including this year's "Gods of Earth." And most impressively, they've secured a spot opening for Metallica through May, a gig that leaves time for them to make stops at smaller venues on their off days.

The Sword's sound is riff-heavy, dark and big, the vein of Black Sabbath. Lyrics are conjured by vocalist and band founder J.D. Cronise, who draws heavily on Nordic and Germanic mythology. But that Sabbath comparison cuts both ways for band members.

"I hate it when bands get pigeonholed like that. But everybody does it. It's like you can't talk about any band unless you talk about how they sort of sound like another band," Shutt said. "You just stop listening to it after a while because people are like, 'Man, you guys must just listen to Sabbath all day long.' It's like, 'Yeah, maybe 10 years ago.' "

Heavy leanings aside, it was the band's more straightforward guitar rock that landed them a track on "Guitar Hero II." The track "Freya," off the band's debut, "Age of Winters," was selected out of several the band had submitted to the game developers.

"I played (the game) once. It's a lot easier to play on the guitar," Shutt said with a laugh. "The part that got me is at the end of the song in the game. There's this whole other part that's not in our song. So I always wonder if people see us live and are like, 'Man why didn't they play that part at the end?'"

As the band gets more comfortable playing together, their songwriting is starting to become more intricate, Shutt said. Although he couldn't put a specific date on it, members have been writing on tour for a third album.

"We getting used to doing more outlandish things," he said. "I think the third record is going to be really fun."

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