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The Sword – Riders on the Storm

By: David E. Gehlke

Blistering.com: “The Veil of Isis” was a great way to open the album, and “Hidden Masters” should be a good one live. What’s working best for you at the moment?

Live, it’s funny because some of the ones I didn’t think would come across well we have already played live, and people went off. Something like “Execrator.” When we played it, people were waiting for it [laughs]. “Eye of the Stormwitch” is one I didn’t think would end up as cool as it did, but by the time we finished tracking that one, I was like “God damn, man! This is heavy!” [laughs]

Blistering.com: Have you always taken the route of airing your new material out before you hit the studio?

Yeah, definitely. So much stuff was different this time around, but that’s one that was the same – every album we play the shit for people before we record it. It started with Age of Winters - we played that album for people two years before we recoded it. Same thing with Gods of the Earth. We had written most of the songs thinking we were going to record, but then we booked a tour before it was done, so we had to go on the road, so I was thinking “Oh my God, we should have done this before.” It also helps to pad your income before you go into the studio [laughs].

Blistering.com: I wish more bands would do that, rather than trying to figure out their material while they’re in the studio.

I don’t know how bands can afford that shit, sitting around a studio for a year without recording. Sign me up [laughs]. I couldn’t do that.

Blistering.com: I think the days of getting a $500,000 advance to record are long gone.

That’s an understatement, man [laughs].

Blistering.com: Touring with Metallica…you got exposed to the “big machine,” and Metallica as we know, doesn’t do anything small. What did you take away from it?

I like to think about it as like pretend being in a band as like a video game. The first level is your high school talent show; the second level is when you move to a big city and start playing clubs; the Metallica tour would be the last level in the game [laughs]. The stage is “in the round” with fucking lasers and ten tons of propane and coffins hanging above your head – it was wild! We learned more just by being on that tour and thrown into the fire. And Metallica really took us under their wing. We owe those guys so much; Lars has been a fan since our first record came out and he’s been coming to shows since 2006, and we go partying at house, drink two bottles of tequila.

He’d say shit like [in Lars voice] “We’re taking you on tour.” And we’re like “Yeah, right!” He used to help us load our gear every night into our trailer. Just the coolest fucking dude ever. And God damn, he wasn’t lying – they took us on tour for about a year and asked how much money we needed to do the tour, and we told them, and he called us back [in Lars voice again] “Guys that’s not going to be enough. You’re going to need this much and everything.” They basically said, “Here’s our coattails, would you like to ride on them for a while?”

Blistering.com: That’s crazy to hear; everyone has this idea of what Lars is actually like, and I guess he’s not really like that.

He got a bad rap for the Napster thing. A bunch of people got mad and were calling him out, but you know what? They can go suck a fucking egg for all I care. But Metallica, they really do care about the state of music and giving new bands a chance that they were given when Ozzy took them out and shit. Those guys are more credible than people realize.

Blistering.com: Do you remember your first encounter with them?

Yeah, it actually got to the point where I can’t remember all the times they’ve seen us and we’ve hung out with them. We were out with them for a year and they’re totally accessible people. They’re really cool and no one has ridiculous rock star hang-ups…not that I was aware of. It was weird because they gave us that slot for as long as we wanted. They told us, “You can be first of three for the whole fucking tour if you want.” It took about a year and we told them we didn’t think we could do it anymore [laughs]. Once we told them we were done, Hetfield gave us a big pep talk and we walked away from the tour feeling like we’ve really done some shit. It was crazy.

Blistering.com: Wrapping up, what’s the next year or so looking like for The Sword?

We’re about to do a huge US run, 40 dates all across the country through January. In January, we’re headed to Europe for the whole. After that, we’re doing Soundwave in Australia, so that should be pretty rad. I think there’s 72 bands, which is ridiculous.


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