• Sam Holden

The Sword's intro for "The Hidden Masters" has bass and clean guitar walking out paired together. They shadow each other's notes unhurried as drums fall in. A screaming riff is next, burrowing in an additional layer. When vocalist/guitar player J.D. Cronise enters the darkened realm, you are ready. His delivery is a foreboding monotone à la Ozzy Osbourne. Cronise moans a warning: "Your gilded houses will give no shelter when the heavens fall/Your sacred tomes will give no answers when the masters call." It's a step away from the Sword's usual gallop and fire metal. Besides Sabbath, the song's hesitation echoes Zeppelin's "Dazed and Confused" (which is actually Jake Holmes's song) and Golden Earring's "Radar Love." Some have condemned the Sword for sounding too much like Sabbath and other bands. But at some point, isn't all rock derivative? Does Cronise sound too similar to Ozzy? Have fun debating that. If you don't like the Sword, don't listen to them, and don't go to the show. The Sword will miss you from the bottom of their hearts. Guitarist Kyle Shutt spoke, from somewhere near Albany, New York.

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