the Sword and Eagle Claw


Texas Platters

The Sword

Apocryphon (Razor & Tie)

Eagle Claw

Timing of the Void (ECH)

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," claimed Ralph Waldo Emerson, but in heavy metal, hobgoblins constitute a good thing. Apocryphon rolls out disc No. 4 in Austin metal torchbearer the Sword's winning streak, and it's precisely what we've come to expect from the unrepentant headbangers. Still the poster child for Seventies values (Black Sabbath), the local quartet cranks out bludgeoning rhythms, catchy riffs, and arty, fantasy lyrics from the same well of inspiration it drew on for LPs one through three. Expecting significant evolution from dinosaur lovers isn't only pointless, but undesirable. Given a perfect balance of melody and power on "Arcane Montane," "The Veil of Isis," and "Dying Earth," change remains beautifully avoidable. A few atmospheric Moog intros aside, Apocryphon stomps with familiar, even comforting, satisfaction. Sword touring partner Eagle Claw also rides a new horse across the landscape, axes aloft. Produced by the big brother band's Bryan Richie, sophomore full-length Timing of the Void revels in an even more openly sensual guitar orgy. Moving forward a decade with its hero worship, the instrumental quartet seems to have spent its teenage years with a pile of Dio-era Sabbath and early Metallica tapes, letting bottom-heavy licks soak into impressionable brains. The resulting sludge stays as thick and viscous as it oughta be, without clogging the gears. "Ophidian," "Book of Water," and the nearly quintessential "Uzumaki Vortex" remain graceful while hammering your skull. Dispensing with unnecessary vocals, Eagle Claw achieves headbanging purity.

(Both) ***

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More The Sword
Crosstalk: Golden Dawn Arkestra Records Live Album and Metal Breakouts the Sword Break Up
Crosstalk: Golden Dawn Arkestra Records Live Album and Metal Breakouts the Sword Break Up
Austin music news headlines of the week

Rachel Rascoe, Oct. 28, 2022

Texas Platters
The Sword
Used Future (Record Review)

Michael Toland, June 29, 2018

More Eagle Claw
Free Week Live Shots Part 1
Eagle Claw, Tia Carrera, Megafauna, Flesh Lights, Smoke & Feathers, My Education
Highlights from first half of Free Week

Adam Schragin, Jan. 11, 2013

The Eastern Sea catch the 'Plague,' Eagle Claw goes samurai, John Wesley Coleman III wants to direct, and you can't pee on the Midgetmen

Kevin Curtin, June 22, 2012

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Sabbath Crow
Carrion Highway Weird Sun (Record Review)

Michael Toland, Aug. 16, 2019

Texas Platters
Matamoros (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Aug. 16, 2019

More by Michael Toland
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Molly Burch, Arooj Aftab, and Mobley lead our recommended shows

Sept. 29, 2023

Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
HAAM Day, Ron Carter, and Pecan Street Festival lead our recommended shows

Sept. 15, 2023


The Sword, Eagle Claw

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle