Reviewed by Darcie Stevens, Fri., March 18, 2005
Velvet Spade Patio, Friday, March 18
Like an army marching into battle a bit scared, a bit humbled the Sword of Doom, a nom de plume for the Sword's first of two official SXSW showcases, waded through the underlying fog of the Music Festival. Various visions of gloom, medieval knights, and underdogs prepared to take their respective whippings on the outdoor stage at the old Caucus Club, and after a short respite of war preparations (ahem), the four soldiers of metal took the stage. The Sword is not to be taken lightly. Forged in the heat of Those Peabodys, with whom singer and guitarist J.D. Cronise recently sided, they thrash and sludge and raise and destroy, all within one cry. Charging with "The Horned Goddess" at their side, the Sword cautioned those out-of-towners in the back with a hint of what was to come. By the time the quartet leaned into "Barael's Blade" with a fury usually reserved for angry kings and scorned women, all bodies were drawn to center, close enough to witness but far away enough to duck the shrapnel. Note after note, the "Blade" careened through a song and back again, time changes leading the force with a gallop. When the classic riffage of "Iron Torn" rattled the patio, Austin's most dangerous finally drew blood. As the Sword paired up wailing guitar solos just an octave apart, the steeds began to stomp and snort. When the drums went silent, only hooves could be heard in the distance, and victory was proclaimed at last.