The Sword's John Cronise: Metal Fans Deserve Better Than the New Black Sabbath Album

Categories: Interviews

The Sword
Formed in Austin nearly a decade ago, The Sword is one of the heaviest bands to emerge from that scene. Full of monstrous guitar riffs and typically bombastic sci-fi themes, the four Sword albums are intense, thought-provoking and filled with good humor. The band's most recent effort, Apocryphon, is a diverse collection of doom metal that should expose the band to a bigger audience.

From his home in North Carolina and in anticipation of Thursday night's show at the Granada Theater, guitarist/vocalist John Cronise spoke with DC9 about leaving Austin, digging science fiction and not digging the new Black Sabbath album.

You live in North Carolina, but the rest of the band still resides in Austin. Does that make practicing difficult?

I've not lived in Austin for only two years now. We've been playing together for so long that regular practices are not really a requirement. We just need a little bit here and there.

Why the move to North Carolina?

I am from this region. My folks live here. I missed this sort of culture and terrain. It's not really the same in Austin. I mean I love Austin. I moved to Austin about 13 years ago and it's gone through dramatic changes since then. It got to the point that it was almost unrecognizable. I needed a change of scenery.

When you think about Austin, you certainly don't think about a heavy metal scene. Was it odd being a metal band in Austin?

At first, yes. There are a lot more heavier bands now; not that there are a great number. There are so many bands and musicians. It is so diverse. It's not uncommon for someone to be in three or four different projects. I don't know of a great concentration of any particular genre. There is so much going on there. When we first started, we were definitely an anomaly. Now, there are bands like Eagle Claw and Sharks and a little bit of a scene there for harder rock and heavy metal. I think that helped us stand out.

Why does metal have so many sub-genres? You guys are often grouped under Doom Metal and Stoner Metal. Does every band labeled that have to get high? That seems offensive.

I agree. I attribute that to the fact that metal is a genre largely appreciated by white, male nerds who love to categorize things. That's just what they do. It is a little out of hand. A lot of what people relegate to these sub-genres is just hard rock. It is all just describing slight variations on the same sound. I think the only scene that has it worse is dance music. They have micro-genres where if one little element is different, then it is a totally different genre. It's all just music. People are too obsessed with their categorizations.

Why do metal bands have this fascination with science fiction?

I think science fiction and fantasy, those genres of literature and movies, they appeal to heavy metal fans because metal is dramatic, over-the-top kind of music. It can be kind of cartoonish in a way. We are very epic in how we sound. Those two things seem to go hand in hand. There are more metal fans that would rather read Lord of the Rings or watch Game of Thrones than watch political debates. It is an escapist sort of genre.

I love your song "Tres Brujas." Do you speak Spanish?

I speak about as much Spanish as your typical white Texan who absorbs it from it being around. I can understand some Spanish.

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Thanks for a great interview with one of my favorite bands.  Can't wait to see them tonight!!!

ub8658 1 Like

 I love the sword, and Apocryphon is a great album, and The Sword is one of the best live bands playing these days, but it isn't doom metal.  Why is it that music journalist just don't understand what doom metal is, and constantly attach the doom label to all sorts of metal that is not and has never been doom.  Is it because music journalist that aren't into metal are asked to write these articles?  It's like you don't know what doom is, and don;t have any clue about the broad swath of underground metal acts.  No real excuse these days with the internet.Oh, right Dallas, but still, please tell me all Dallas isn't that cluelessAnd this is not a micro-genre thing.  Doom, Sludge, Post-Metal, etc., these genres mean something and there are lots of bands active in these genres.  I also agree with John about the Sabbath album, and I don't sing like Ozzy or write lyrics.  The new Sabbath would be forgotten if it were not for the name, and I don't think bands should get a pass just because they have famous members.


@ub8658 hey man, it is the band's promo materials that refer to them as doom metal, not me. I just asked the question. Don't be so angry.



 Angry?  ROFL, I think your projecting your emotions onto me there Darryl.  If The Sword said they were thrash, would you just accept that as well?

Here is a funny comic:

So I must agree, The Sword is Doom and they sound like Black Sabbath.  Can I be a music journalist now too?


@darrylrs @ub8658

"I interview bands and write down what they say...we don't change what they say.that is called journalism."

Wow, actually,  I am not sure whether you mean that if you change what they provide, that makes it journalism or if you are suggesting that it's journalism either way.  Way to convey there.  
Your stellar mastery of the English language blows me away!  And the punctuation!  Your editor must LOVE you!

I truly do envy you though, I really wish I worked in an industry that has been decimated by technological change and has left my skill set less valuable and in less demand.  Man, living the dream, copying stuff other people write and pasting it onto a website someone else runs, that's hard hitting journalism right there.

I do hope that for your sake, you have the administrative privileges to delete this thread, and we can just keep your humiliating comments between us.


@ub8658 @darrylrs yes, i interview bands and write down what they say. there are many bands who don't describe their own sound very well, but we don't change what they say. that is called journalism. a lot of writers have described the band as doom and there is no denying the black sabbath connection. you can't be a journalist because you obviously envy this one too much. 

rbeezlee 1 Like

So a guy who does his best to sing like Ozzy, often times writes pretentious lyrics while playing derivative riffs, often times doesn't appear to know the what some of the "big" words he uses in said lyrics actually mean, bags on the new Sabbath album.  Um. Okay.


@rbeezlee You tell 'em.  I just said the same thing. I actually like Sword, but that guy has some nerve dissing the architects of a style they merely borrow from.  


@rbeezlee I can't really argue with you about the pretentious lyrics but you are way off the mark when you say that he tries to sound like Ozzy. I have the entire Sabbath and Sword discographies and I have never once thought that the vocals sounded alike. Maybe you are confusing Cronise with Zakk Wylde.

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