December 9, 2015 The Sword & Royal Thunder Bring Rock To NYC 12-1-15
Texan Rockers The Sword have been receiving critical praise since their formation in 2003, including touring with Metallica for selected shows from their Global Tour, at their request. Casually flowing in with an essence of a seventies Black Sabbath to an original Modern Heavy Metal style of their own, John Cronise (vocals/guitar), Kyle Shutt (guitar), Bryan Richie (bass), and Santiago Vela III (drums) know no creative bounds. Shortly after the last tour in support of their chart-topping fourth studio album, 2012’s Apocryphon, they were inspired to hit the studio for more. This time, they expanded their style even further, and by August 2015, High Country via Razor & Tie was released.
Shortly after fans took a hold on the said fifth album, the band surprised North America to continue the celebration by announcing a fifty date, two-legged tour. The first trek landed in Dallas, TX on October 9th and concluded on November 4th in Lubbock, TX with the support from bands Kadavar and All Them Witches. The second leg hit New Orleans, LA on November 18th and runs until December 19th in Corpus Christi, TX. While being deep in the huddle of the tour, on Tuesday December 1st at Webster Hall’s Grand Ballroom in New York City, The Sword were ready to spellbind all, and to support them in this run were Georgian Hard Rockers Royal Thunder.
From Atlanta, Georgia, Royal Thunder formed in 2007, and after a few lineup shuffles, they settled down since 2012 with Mlny Parsonz (bass/vocals), Josh Weaver (guitar), Evan Diprima (drums), and Will Fiore (guitar). Their sound incorporates electrifying, soulful vocals and haunting melodies that continue to shine in their sophomore album, Crooked Doors, released in April 2015 via Relapse Records. Stylistically, they are a unique blend between ’90s Grunge, Classic Rock, and Modern Progressive Metal. Showcasing their craft, they have been touring on and off since 2012 between North America and Europe alongside acts such as Enslaved and Corrosion of Conformity, as well as hit major festivals including SXSW and Bonnaroo.
Having last visited New York City back in June when they rocked St. Vitus across the bridge in Brooklyn, the audience were ecstatic to see this hypnotizing act return. As they hit the stage and performed with distinct excellence, Parsonz’ vocals echoed across the venue. Exciting the audience with her intensified howls, especially during tracks such as “Time Machine” and “Ear on the Fool,” Royal Thunder’s set seemed to fly by within the blink of an eye. Fitting direct support for The Sword, Royal Thunder have a style all their own that is bound to attract a diverse mix of listeners looking for a fresh new band to check out. Parsonz, alone, is an intriguing front-woman, channeling an energy through her singing that is undeniable. They will be returning to tour in early 2016 with Black Tusk and Bask beginning on January 22nd in Wilmington, NC, so be sure go out and see them live.
At this point of the night, Webster Hall filled up, and fans were ready to see The Sword slash the audience with their sharpened mastery. Ready to showcase High Country, it is an album that drifted in a different style from any of their masterpieces since 2006’s Age of Winters. Moving away from writing tales and emphasizing on perfecting their musical craft, they followed their gut and moved into a direction that included focusing on items such as different harmonies, added percussions, and enhanced synthesizers that ultimately illuminated their notorious guitar licks. This evening, fans were ready to witness this, up close and personal.
Opening with the introduction of “Unicorn Farm” had the crowd hooked with undivided engagement. The band arrived to the platform and satisfyingly opened up with “Tres Brujas,” from 2010’s Warp Riders, followed by “Buzzards.” Fans rocked out even harder when the favorable tunes of “Arcane Montane” and “Seven Sisters,” from Apocryphon, ignited. Barely conversing with the audience and only showcasing their musical brilliance, they continued to captivate all with “High Country” and powered in with “The Dreamthieves” that released a vibrant guitar solo. The audience continued to groove along during the favorable classic of “Maiden, Mother & Crone” from 2008’s Gods of the Earth.
Fans of different ages and scenes were glued to the stage as the synchronized harmonies marveled all during the hit track “Cloak of Feathers” from Apocryphon. Sneaking in with High Country’s unreleased B-side track of “Hexenringe,” the music flowed into a mesmerizing instrumental melody. Erupting into “Tears Like Diamonds” and “Mist & Shadow” led to quite a few screams of admiration in the crowd. Shortly after “Lawless Lands,” from 2010’s Warp Riders, Cronise thanked the New Yorkers for being there as there were just a few songs left of the night. Maintaining an inspiring energy, they moved into “Empty Temples,” from High Country, and “The Hidden Masters,” from Apocryphon. As it was clear that the audience could watch them perform all night if they could, sadly the set was coming to a close as they ended with the classic “The Horned Goddess” from 2006’s Age of Winters.
Departing the stage for a brief moment, many held their spot on the floor. They returned to mesmerize all once again. Walking back in during an atmospheric sound, it progressed into heavy instrumentals from “Suffer No Fools.” This hooked all with astonishment, even for those who were planning to leave early to beat the departing rush. Saving the ultimate best for last, Apocryphon track “Dying Earth” began, which fans were lucky to hear live as the immaculate guitar interaction left a joyous ring in everyone’s ears for days to come as a memorable token.
The Sword triumphed the evening and proved why they are perhaps one of the most underrated Heavy Rock bands in America. As a band which take pride in structuring compelling tunes with layers of instrumentation, they opened up the final month of 2015 in New York City with a bang. The tour may end a week before Christmas, but they will be back in 2016 when they play the tenth annual Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio, so purchase tickets before it sells out.