The Sword, Club Red, 12/14/12

The Sword @ Club Red|12/14/12

Valley metal heads got one the their last doses of heavy riffs and shredding guitar solos this year when Austin sci-fi enthusiasts The Sword played to a packed house last night at Club Red.

By 9:00 -- well before the band were scheduled to perform -- a lengthy line of fans wrapped around the strip mall. There were empty beer cans and Red Velvet shooters scattered along the line of fans who decided to pregame before the doors opened.

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The Sword's J.D. Cronise Q&A: "All Rock Is Stoner Rock" The Sword @ Club Red [Slideshow]

The quartet hit the stage just after 10:00 and dove right into their set with "Apocryphon."

Sonically the band sounded terrific, and the sound guy had the mix dialed in. As the band continued through it's set with older material like "Freya" and "Hammer of Heaven," the tracks really stated blending together and that would continue throughout the night.

In reality putting a metal tag on these guys is almost unfair. In reality they are pretty much a straight up rock band with some tasty licks. It's as if Clutch married Queens of the Stone Age and then had an affair with Black Sabbath (but without the hooks or catchy choruses).

It wasn't until later in the set that "Dying World" would demonstrate some contrast in the material and the song proved to be the best received by the crowd.

"Arrows in the Dark" and "Veil of Isis" wrapped up the set before the band returned for a two-song encore of "Barael's Blade" and show closer "Winter's Wolf," which was by far the best song of the night.

While the band doesn't like to be described as "stoner rock," the tag fits, and it being stoned certainly helps if you want to be engrossed in the band's thick, sludgy rock.

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