Austin-based doom quartet the Sword formed in 2003 with singer/guitarist/project mastermind J.D. Cronise at the helm. A year later, the Sword solidified their cast with frontman Cronise, guitarist Kyle Shutt, bassist Bryan Richie and drummer Trivett Wingo. Garnering sonic inspiration from stoner/doom legends Sleep along with heavy thrashers Slayer and early metal progenitors Black Sabbath, this crushing foursome created a much-buzzed-about throwback sound. After debuting at famed local music fest SXSW, the Sword released their venerated first album, Age of Winters, in 2006 to critical acclaim, and returned in 2008 with the darker, heavier Gods of the Earth.