The Sword Hop And Grape, Manchester, 28/03/2008

Wed 9th April 2008

Support from Saviours/Black Cobra


As Black Cobra took to the stage the Academy 3 was just beginning to fill up. The duo immediately ripped into their set with a clenched teeth fury and note-perfect musicianship. The relentlessly touring masters of tentacle-like fuzz anthems are so tight they are like the stretched skin of a python digesting a deer. Savagely re-creating tracks from debut album 'Bestial' as well as newest release 'Feather & Stone', the band's set spanned both low-end intensity and instrumental epic-highness.

The band given the task of following Black Cobra were the headliner's label mates Saviours. The Kermado Records signings were more than up to the task, being slap-bang in the middle of two such skilled live acts, plus the fact this was Saviours first tour of the UK, meant the band had to really go all out. The four-piece easily filled the stage with their number and head-banging golden locks. Drawing on new album 'Into Abaddon', the band's new-school metal had the crowd head-banging along in unison and the Orange Amps stacked on the stage were definitely used to their full extent.

The Sword then emerged and were greeted likes heroes by the crowd. The Texan blade wielders went down a storm when they supported Clutch last year and it was clear from the atmosphere the crowd expected much of the same. Unlike the previous bands, The Sword were put fully through the PA system to make the headliners the loudest band of the night by far. Frontman and band founder J.D. Cronise shredded through the metallic epics with flair and was thankful to the audience in between songs. Tracks from the soon to be classic 'Age of Winters' blended perfectly with material from new album 'Gods of The Earth'. The band's Sabbath heavy songs were truly heavy live and 'Mother, Maiden & Crone' and 'Fire Lances The Ancient Hyperzephyrians' and instrumental 'The White Sea' were all delivered with verve. Seemingly finishing with their best song 'Iron Swan' the band then re-emerged for a memorable encore consisting of a nicely chosen cover of Faith No More's 'Surprise You're Dead!' and former single and bona fide fist-punching anthem 'Freya'. The Sword didn't have the same 'got something to prove' attitude as when they last toured but this was a mouth-watering bill and all the bands did themselves justice.


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    •  pull-my-plonkerpull-my-plonker
    • One of the best gigs I've been to. A steal at £8!
    •  J ParkerJ Parker
    • I don't like em. PFFFTTDPPDHHH