The Sword bring Apocryphon to Pittsburgh

Austin, TX natives The Sword pull no punches when it comes to their love of all things 70’s and, more specifically, their worship of Black Sabbath. They are one of the bands leading the charge in a 70’s rock sound resurgence known as the stoner rock movement. Currently out on the road in support of their latest album Apocryphon, with tourmates Big Business and O’Brother, The Sword are bringing their throwback sound to the huddled metal masses and if the tour makes a stop in your town, it behooves you to attend. Their stop at Mr. Smalls in Pittsburgh was epic to say the least. Atlanta, GA noise makers O’Brother were up first. The band humbly and very unassumingly took the stage before outright exploding into a blistering 5 song set of slow, moody and brooding hard rock, laced with ambient and somewhat psychedelic undertones, in the vein of The Melvins, Tool and Deftones. Each song blending one into the next, with every one building to an epic crescendo of swirling noise and sonic chaos. [lg_slideshow folder=\”2014/The Sword North America 2014/O Brother/\”] The triple guitar attack of vocalist/guitarist Tanner Merritt, guitarist Johnny Dang and guitarist Jordan McGhin was perfectly complemented by the lethal doses of bottom end bassist Anton Dang and drummer Michael Martens were pounding out and was matched only by the shear raw energy of the band as a whole. They were without a doubt the biggest and most pleasant surprise of the evening. Judging by the way the floor filled in during their set and the traffic at their merch booth, it’s a safe bet to say they were the ones that would be leaving with the most converts and new fans at the end of the night. Up next, from Seattle, Wa was power trio Big Business, who had some big shoes to fill and did an excellent job of living up to the challenge. They also quietly took the stage but to immediate sound and technical problems. The band soldiered onward and after a few awkward moments, bassist/vocalist Jared Warren took to the mic to say “Well, this is embarrassing, we’ve been up here for 10 minutes now and we still haven’t introduced ourselves, we are Big Business. Thanks for coming.” [lg_slideshow folder=\”2014/The Sword North America 2014/Big Business/\”] From there, it was all uphill and in the end the band delivered a devastating set of cataclysmic hard rock with titles like “Chump Chance,” “Battlefields,” “Doomsday, Today!” and “Our Mutant,” with mega high energy, much to the fans delight. Headliners The Sword were next and not only did they not disappoint, they took things into the realms of serious next level shit. From the very first notes of “Cloak Of Feathers,” the crowd parted like the Red Sea and massive pits ensued, followed by wave after wave of impassioned crowd surfers. [lg_slideshow folder=\”2014/The Sword North America 2014/The Sword/\”] The band served up numbers like “Tres Brujas,” “Arcane Montane,” “Veil of Isis” and “Apocryphon” with authority and the rabid fans ate up every last morsel, licking their hungry fingers and begging for more and singing at the top of their collective lungs, often drowning out the band themselves. At the end of their set and as now exhausted fans exited the building, the line at their merch booth grew at an exponential rate and for damn good reasons. -Eric Hunker