Sabbath redux

It’s perhaps fitting that as Halloween approaches, the sounds of metal are in the air. On Monday, I saw Oaktown heroes High on Fire (aka the heaviest band on God’s green earth, as I described them in a piece earlier this year), who opened for Opeth, a proggy Swedish metal band that I could take or leave. (To paraphrase a friend: I want my metal to take its cues from Motorhead, not Yes). As always, High on Fire killed it, but they only played for an hour or so. Tonight, the Sword, an Austin, Texas, doom rock act, headlines at Slim’s. These guys hew to the old Black Sabbath playbook–sludgy riffs, a surprisingly swinging rhythm section, and a singer with an (ahem) untraditional voice–and it works. The lyrics, though, are the icing on the cake. A fantasy world of wizards, frost giants, and “fire lances of the ancient hyperzephyrians,” the words are delivered with the utmost seriousness, with the deadpan of a high-stakes poker player. As a palate cleanser, here’s the Sword’s live version of the old ZZ Top burner, “Nasty Dogs and Funky Kings.”