The Sword

Double Door Welcomes

The Sword

Eagle Claw, Gypsy Hawk

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$15.00 - $18.00

This event is 21 and over

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The Sword
The Sword
Every culture has its own set of cryptic texts.

They're the forbidden tomes of wisdom which governing powers will deny knowledge of and ban. They're usually thought-provoking. They're typically dangerous. They're often revolutionary. It might seem impossible to keep anything private in the modern age of Facebook and Twitter where everyone's dirty laundry is up for a comment. Nevertheless, the most impactful art remains the most mysterious. Apocryphon, which literally translates to "secret writing", is the perfect moniker for The Sword's fourth full-length album and first for Razor & Tie. Wrapping poetic and poignant imagery in a haze of crushing riffs and ethereal melodies, the Austin, TX quartet delivers haunting, hypnotic, and heavy rock. The group—John D. Cronise [Vocals, Guitar], Kyle Shutt [Guitar], Bryan Richie [Bass], and Santiago “Jimmy” Vela III [Drums]—is about to let the world in on a little secret...

Coming off 2010's acclaimed concept album Warp Riders, The Sword approached their latest offering from a new perspective. Instead of recording in Austin, they holed up in Baltimore with producer J. Robbins [Clutch, Jawbox] for five weeks to craft Apocryphon in the summer of 2012.

"It felt like a fresh start," affirms Shutt. "We always made our records in Austin. This is the first time we left the city to live somewhere and make music. It was good to shake things up. Jimmy had just joined the band. We had new management, and we had just signed to Razor & Tie. There was a strange energy in Baltimore, and it fit with our attitude."

Cronise elaborates, "The music is also lyrically different. There's not as much storytelling as on previous albums. There are songs about real life subjects. Warp Riders was a big undertaking. I wrote a sci-fi story, and we made a record about it. This was more stream-of-consciousness. In a way, I realized music as a vehicle for expressing my own views and thoughts. I shied away from that before in favor of entertaining people with colorful narratives. This is where I'm at."

Cronise actually turned to various texts while penning lyrics this time around. With an eerie synth, captivating refrain, and pummeling guitars, the title track references his deep and calculated research.

"The word Apocryphon came up while I was researching Gnosticism, early Christianity, theosophy, and other esoteric subjects," he goes on. "They're books that were either banned or removed from the biblical canon. The early church fathers felt that these teachings were either too advanced or dangerous for the masses to be exposed to because they encouraged thought that was antithetical to the church’s system of control, so they were considered heretical and dubbed apocrypha. You've got to look beyond what you're told to the totality of knowledge available to approach any sort of true understanding."

At the same time, he'd also immersed himself in a healthy dose of science fiction such as Phillip K. Dick's VALIS and the work of Michael Moorcock. One song "Dying Earth" nods directly to Jack Vance's science fiction series of the same name with an apocalyptic buildup and distorted crash. Meanwhile, the first single "Veil of Isis" careens from a propulsive beat and kinetic riff into an impressive groove. It illuminates another side of Apocryphon.

"That's one of the more metaphysical tracks on the record," continues Cronise. "Some of it is about Isis and the concept of the mother deity. It gets into Egyptian cosmology and talks about cycles of nature, which is a theme that recurs in various places throughout the album."

"It's the next logical step for The Sword," adds Shutt. "It's got a big-ass riff and chorus. There's a solid and memorable groove." Sonically, Robbins encouraged The Sword to tap into something raw. As a result, the album echoes with insurmountable intensity. "We loved what he did with Clutch, and they highly recommended him," recalls Shutt. "He really helped us capture the dirty, grittiness in the songs. It was there, but he knew what we wanted, what we were going for, and how to communicate it."

That vision even comes across in the ornate cover art by famed artist and writer J.H. Williams III. Cronise sought out the Eisner and Harvey-award winning artist behind Promethia, Batwoman, and Detective Comics for artwork, and Williams excitedly obliged. "I really wanted him for the cover," smiles Cronise. "I've been a fan for a long time, and what he came up with is mind-blowing. It's more intricate and involved than our previous album artwork. There's so much to it. It gives the people who buy the CD, LP, or cassette—yes, I said cassette—a beautiful artifact to look at."

The Sword consistently give their audience a fully realized experience, though. They began turning heads with Age of Winters in 2006 and its 2008 follow-up God of the Earth. Metallica hand-picked them for a worldwide tour, and they've shared the stage with everyone from Motorhead to Ozzy Osbourne. Their music has been prominently utilized in films such as Jennifer's Body and Jonas Åkerlund’s Horsemen as well as the best-selling video game Guitar Hero: Metallica. Meanwhile, in 2010, Warp Riders reached #42 on the Billboard Top 200. They've also received widespread critical acclaim from the likes of Rolling Stone, Outburn, The Washington Post, and more. 2012 saw them ink their deal with Razor & Tie, and a whole new chapter has begun.

Ultimately, The Sword will continue to reveal what other artists won't. "To some degree, it's always been about escapism," concludes Cronise. "Music is supposed to transport people somewhere away from their daily lives. For Apocryphon, the idea was to do that in a more introspective and philosophical manner. I'd like it if listeners think a little bit more about life, their existence, and their place in the universe while taking this trip."

That's one secret truly worth sharing.
Eagle Claw
Eagle Claw
Weighing in at 700 pounds, two guitars, a bass and drums, Austin, Tx's instruMetal outfit EAGLE CLAW is; Matt Rade, Michael Gonzalez, Luther Smalls and Bart Butler. Formed in the fall of 2007, the band started gaining momentum quickly when their Demo "Bastard Usurper" first infiltrated Austin's music scene. This was followed up by their first official release entitled "Poacher", which features 9 tracks that propels the listener through a dualistic soundscape of the void and the light.
Gypsy Hawk
Gypsy Hawk
"Gypsyhawk is four metal dudes playing rock and roll and bringing the party every time they get on stage," states guitarist Andrew Packer, and there is perhaps no better way of surmising the spirit and sound of the Pasadena quartet. Revisiting the electrifying sounds of bullshit-free 70s rock, the band are a breath of fresh air compared to the endless onslaught of breakdown obsessed bands clutteri
ng up heavy music. Marinating their wares in whiskey and weed, they hurl out blistering riffs and irresistible hooks and grooves, doing their damnedest to ensure that everyone at their shows is having as much fun as they are. With Revelry & Resilience, their second full-length and Metal Blade debut, this vibe bleeds from the speakers from start to finish, determinedly putting a smile on your face and compelling you to throw your hair around, no matter how much or how little you might have. "It's music for girls to shake their asses to and dudes to bang their heads," states vocalist/bassist Eric Harris. "It's good-time rock and roll, and we don't take ourselves too seriously, but at the same time we're not one-dimensional 'yeah-dude-let's-party-all-the-fucking-time!' guys, and I like to think there's something for everyone in our music."

If one thing is for sure it's that the four guys in Gypsyhawk are not looking for overnight stardom and want to put the work into building something that lasts, and deservedly so. "I really want to take this band as big as it can possibly go but because it's good music that people want to hear, and I want the chance to try different things on the records we make in the future, to really see what we're capable of," says Packer. "We're just going to write the best music that we can and we're gonna write the truest music that we can," Harris adds. "We want to play this music everywhere that will have us, but we're pretty realistic about everything, and we're just having a good fucking time while we can."
Venue Information:
Double Door
1572 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL, 60622