Anticipation was high driving from Boulder to Englewood for The Sword at the Gothic theater. The Sword, touring their new album High Country since early September brought a large crowd to the Gothic Theater. High Country takes a step back from the Swords thunderous previous albums such as Age of Winters and Gods of the Earth for a vibe unseen by the band previously. Much like the banner hanging behind the drum kit songs on High Country consist of massive peaks which would sound right at home on the Swords earlier catalog. Followed by valleys that sound like they belong more around a camp fire on a crisp mountain night rather then then a metal concert.
The opening band was All Them Witches a four piece out of Nashville, Tennessee. Their sound bled of heavy psychedelia that created very thick soundscapes that engulfed the listener. In addition to a heavy psych sound the keys where extremely reminiscent of what Ray Manzarek would play on The Doors self titled. That was not something I was expecting and really blew me away. I doubt the bands sound is heavy enough to have opened for the Sword on a previous tour. With that said, their sound complimented High Country extremely well and made for a great overall opening act.
The Sword took to the stage with Tres Brujas a song off of their album Warp Riders. Immediately hair began to fly as audience members head banged to the tune. The floor quickly opened up and stayed an open pit the rest of the show. The Swords sound is heavy and in your face, being heavily influenced by bands such as Sleep. They definitely earned their right to tour along side acts like Metallica in the bands previous years. The set list was hard and heavy, the new material off of High Country consisted of about 2/3 of the set list which was a good balance between old and new. The set list lasted from about 10:15- 11:45 and is as follows.
-Tres Brujas -Arcane Montane -High Country -The Dreamthieves -Seven Sisters -Maiden, Mother, and Crone –Buzzards -Tears Like Diamonds -Mist and Shadow -Cloak of Feathers -Lawless Lands –Hex -Hidden Temples -The Horned Goddes -Freya-The Bees of Spring
Leaving the show my neck was sore, I was bruised and battered, and had a massive smile across my face! The Sword is extremely well respected and liked among many musicians and fans in the metal community and it is easy to see why. The band is not afraid to explore different sounds and ideas such as the conceptual album Warp Riders and more recently with the striped down sound of High Country. This is one of the ways the band can draw massive crowds to shows such as that at the Gothic. The show over all showcased The Swords heavy stoner metal sound and sent listeners on what felt like an epic journey by the time the show concluded.