Over the 12 years since their formation, the Sword have been compared to stoner rockers from Black Sabbath to Kyuss to Corrosion of Conformity to, well, Black Sabbath a whole lot. Meanwhile, possibly their biggest fan, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich has likened them to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands that he grew up on. But judging from the songs released so far from the Austin quartet’s forthcoming fifth album, High Country – the record’s title track and new cut, “Empty Temples,” which can be streamed below – the group has moved in a classic-rock direction closer to Thin Lizzy and ZZ Top than anything wearing a bullet belt or brandishing an inverted cross. Guitarist Kyle Shutt certainly thinks so.
“‘Empty Temples’ could be considered our mission statement for the record,” he enthuses. “We’ve shed our old trappings and embraced a livelier, more upbeat approach to songwriting while still maintaining the vision we shared when we started this band over a decade ago. High Country has more flavors than any of our previous records, everything from folk to pop to boogie to straight-up rock, and proves that we are the other ‘Little Ol’ Band From Texas.'”
Set to be released on August 21st, High Country is currently available for pre-order digitally via iTunes and in a variety of merch-stuffed bundle options via the band’s website. The Sword will launch a tour of Europe and the U.K. on that same date; also in August, the details of an extensive North American trek, kicking off in October, will be announced.