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One hell of a classic heavy metal experience - 93%

DesecratorJ, May 22nd, 2019

Myself being also from the province of Quebec, I did not really got to know this band before having listen to other old school bands from my hometown like Voivod and Deaf Dealer. I saw some old TV reports and saw these guys from a band called Sword and couldn't resist to give them a shot. I didn't really know what to expect there, but one thing for sure, I remember getting crazy about this band. Actually, Sword is one of the few 80s metal bands from Quebec that managed to tour around the world. They came out pretty much out of nowhere and provoked an explosion with their energy and intense live performance. Their biggest achievement was being booked as an opening act for Metallica in 1986 and to have toured with Motôrhead as well. The material on the album reviewed here is the exact proof that Sword knew how to create a classic heavy metal album that would show what this music is all about.

The first album of the band called "Metalized", was released back in 1986, which is one of the most important year in the heavy metal music development. What we have here is ten tracks and the album has a playing time of nearly 35 minutes. As soon as you hit the play button, you get blasted with a killer opening riff of the first track "F.T.W.". Being the first song I ever heard by the band as well, you get a pretty good idea of what Sword is all about. The music is straight forward and doesn't give a break, and the worse in all that record, the songs are catchy as hell. This whole album might grow upon you very quickly after getting through it with its memorable verses and choruses. Each tracks are rather short and doesn't exceed the four minutes mark except the last song "Evil Spell", which has a cool introduction before singer Rick Hughes screams out his lungs. The energy displayed on "Metalized" is what makes the album memorable and everything is on point.

The songwriting is also incredibly original, every songs sound very different to each other and the band explored many facets of the metal genre. The second track "Children of Heaven" has a more classic vibe and structure, the heaviness of the sound and the catchiness of the lyrics still makes it a great number. While "The End of the Night" sounds a little similar in term of intensity, the speed metal oriented "Outta Control" made me realize how amazing this album actually is. Another great highlight we can find on there is the killer track "Dare to Spit", which start out groovy and then switch into a solid heavy metal attack. The guitar work is to be praised as well, the solos are very well written and especially in "Where to Hide". There are some cool melodies present at some points on the album which adds even more details into the songs. Basically everyone in the band is at the top of their game on this album and the production work is flawless. All the instruments are mixed properly and the drums sound is outstanding.

Out of all the material on the album, the only song I did not really like is "Stuck in Rock", and the simple reason is that I didn't enjoy its verses and how it slow down at some point in the track. Otherwise, "Metalized" to me is a masterpiece of the Canadian heavy metal scene. Unfortunately, the band didn't continue in that direction and went to release underwhelming material compared to this before disbanding. I recommend giving this album a serious listen if you didn't already as it will get caught in your head due to its catchiness. If you want a real experience of 80s heavy metal, this is definitely one of a great choice.

Best tracks:

Dare to Spit
Evil Spell
F.T.W.
Outta Control
The End of the Night

Unsheathe thy swords and be metalized! - 92%

hells_unicorn, November 7th, 2014
Written based on this version: 1986, 12" vinyl, GWR Records

Some heavy metal albums survive by way of depth, whereas others will make their mark with intricate quirks to differentiate themselves from the pack. However, some of the most iconic albums of the 80s survived by sheer adherence to the fun factor, though naturally some level flash and mystique is along for the ride. That's where Canada's own Sword landed with their highly impressive and compact debut after a stint as a Kiss tribute band, right square in the fun zone, and boy did they take ownership of it. Playing off a sound that is strikingly close to an iconic NWOBHM character, but with the same posh production character and sleaziness as Kiss was exhibiting when the makeup came off, what emerges in the aptly titled Metalized leaves a sizable chunk of the competition right in the dust.

The parallels with a number of other American, British and German heavy metal outfits that were burning it up in the mid-80s is naturally unavoidable, most notably that of Accept, Leatherwolf, Saxon, and Stormwitch. The sound accomplished is quite guitar oriented and aggressive when compared to the arena-like hard rocking character of Kiss, and even launches out into full Judas Priest speed metal mode at a couple of points. "Outta Control" literally sounds like an answer to "Ram It Down" a full 2 years before said song came into being, complete with the flashy lead guitar work that typified Priest's late 80s return to harder hitting metal creation. Coming in not far behind are a couple of solid galloping cruisers in "The End Of The Night" and "F.T.W." that hit with all the forbidding punchy riffs and attitude to rival Twisted Sister at their most vicious.

The sum and parts of this outfit are in stellar order, culminating in a colossal sound that is somewhat reminiscent of Crimson Glory's debut, but with a slightly harder rocking edge. Much of this owes to vocalist Rick Hughes, who manages to conjure up images of Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt); or perhaps for a more current example, Nightmare drummer turned vocalist Jo Amore. His lyrical assault definitely possesses more of a gravely feel that ties in with the heavier edge of a metallic album, but isn't 100% removed from the soaring character of a number of power metal oriented outfits that were something of a precursor to the current scene such as Cloven Hoof. The total package is something that doesn't shy away from the cliches that were rampant in the mid 80s, but actually revels in them and dares any post-Grunge cynics to cry about all the catchy, fun filled magic found in each song.

In a sense, Sword managed to underscore the changing of the guard from 70s hard rock to 80s metal with an eye for the next coming changeover where the NWOBHM would move to slightly faster and more dangerous, yet still heavily melodic and catchy territory. This isn't quite something that could be qualified as power metal, at least not any more than would be the case with Accept's Metal Heart or Judas Priest's Defenders Of The Faith, but it's not hard to see where a band like this ends and some of the current proponents of power metal such as Sabaton, Hammerfall and Dream Evil begin. Essentially, the younger metal crowd that may not have heard of this somewhat obscure Canadian outfit but are stalwarts fans of the aforementioned bands should make haste and get Metalized.

You Can Always Count on Canada. - 93%

Metal_Jaw, November 10th, 2011

When American, European, Brazilian, etc metal gets old (it does?), what country would one turn to next? Most overlook Canada, who despite a larger number of musical mutations which have spawned from bacon country, are actually quite sharp when it comes to heavy metal. The Northern Border was rife with a number of mostly speed and thrash metal acts throughout the decade of the 80's including Annihilator, Exciter, Razor (a personal favorite), Voivod, and to a lesser extent in thrash but greater in speed/power metal, the legendary Anvil. But in 1986 a little band with a low-budget album popped up out of nowhere. They are Sword.

There's not much I can say about this album that many others have already expressed on a more grand scale, so I'll make this short. Sword's debut album, the awesomely-titled "Metalized", is not thrash nor speed nor power metal, though it does have minute shades of all three. It's a damn-near perfect, no-frills traditional metal album, plain and simple. It's all about the riffs, the short 'n' sweet solos, the killer vocals, the MASSIVE drumming and whirlwind guitarwork. The variety of songs is fantastic as well. You have speedier numbers like the catchy opener "FTW" or the fun "Outta Control", semi-thrashy bits like "Dare To Spit", a moodier song called "Evil Spell", and the incredible, doomy "Stoned Again", which is easily in my top 10 for one of the best metal songs of the 1980's.

Overall, if you like your metal albums no-frills, simple, catchy and ass-kicking, look no further than Sword's "Metalized". If you fancy yourself a true metalhead, then make this a part of your collection soon.

This IS Metal - 98%

Luvers666, April 5th, 2011

Little known Metal band Sword from Canada had every reason to fail in the Metal world. In 1986, when they released this, their debut, Glam Metal was riding high only to become much bigger the following year. They were from Canada and unless the band was Rush, Metal bands from the great white north never made it, including the massively influential but criminally underrated Triumph.

The album, Metalized, is one of the most unoriginal albums you will ever see a 90+ score given to by me. For sure, there is nothing exactly new about this album. The chord progressions have all been done and established before. There are thousands of albums, rather a debut or not, that are much faster or technically proficient than this is. Even by the standards of 1986, this album is generic and tired. The lyrics are right around the territory of some second rate band, as none of it is original.

So why the praise? Well, this is one of the albums that excels not because of its originality, but the way it unfolds. The album paints a picture of menace and malevolent aggression better than most Thrash Metal bands could. It illustrates bitter hatred and resounding evil better than most Black & Death Metal bands. And on the few moments the album relies on progressive elements, it does it better than most Progressive Metal bands.

Another fabulous thing about this album is the fact that every single song appears destined for the classic status. The songwriting wings are not only streamlined but show a maturity that precious few bands could create on their debut. Hearing this album without information, you would bank your life savings on the fact that the band had been around for, at least, ten years or so and this was there fifth or sixth album. Normally, streamlined songwriting is a recipe for pure disaster, but here, the fact that the songs are written with such commercialism give each song power and effectiveness.

The album opens with F.T.W. and right off the bat the band introduces us to the one feature that will never be subtracted in any subsequent song, Aggression! At a constant pounding rhythm of 289 BPM , the band kicks off their brief discography with a standard in Thrash Metal attack. - 10/10

Children Of Heaven, is slightly slower and much shorter, but don’t let those words fool you. It will incite a broken neck before the first minute is up. It is that kick ass. - 9/10

Stoned Again, with its chunky bass driven rhythm is a song about a warning to drug addicts. Even the immortal Dave Mustaine includes this song on his top ten lists, it is that damn menacing. - 10/10

Dare To Spit, is the second best song on the album. It is here where the band becomes aggressive and also sets a standard for songs like this. Right in the middle of the song, no kidding, it becomes a completely different song but yet loses nothing in the way of tempo or gear. It was like the band had two spectacular one minute songs that they decided to combine and then pulled this amazing feat off without missing a beat. Honestly, check out the 1:28 mark and see for yourself, your jaw will be on the floor. - 10/10

Outta Control comes next and the band begins it with a Xylophone and you groan as you know disaster is coming. So far the album has been consistent with raw aggression and after showing progressive flourishes, you know they’ve ran out of steam. But before you can grab the album sleeve to notice the time length of the song, the main riff pounds in and you smile. The joke is on anyone who thinks the band has forgotten that they are here to kick ass and take names, leaving softer sections in Metal to lesser talented bands of the day. This song is pure rage and reminds this reviewer so much of the early death metal styled music of Savatage’s first two releases. - 10/10

Side one ends(remember when albums had sides?) and after five spectacular songs, ending with the manic Outta Control you are hoping the band doesn’t falter.

The End Of The Night comes next and the progressive elements return. Right from the opening groovy bass lines, the songs takes you on a Metal journey of nyctophobia, with almost rapped verses and progressive choruses. A gut wrenching solo that every guitarist would have to dig deep to play ensues before the most epic ending on the album yet commences. NIGHT! NIGHT! THE NIGHT! Only Rick Hughes could scream such words and make them sound terrifying. - 10/10

Runaway comes next and before the song starts you might be inclined to believe that the band has lost its speed since the previous song was the second slowest song yet. But right from the opening guitar sweep picking that alludes to Victim Of Changes you realize the band has fooled you again. You learn to stop second guessing this killer of a band who has nothing but pure Heavy Metal coursing through their veins. They even give you a clue to how this album will end in the song lyrics, as it is points to the epic Evil Hell, but I am getting ahead of myself. - 10/10

Where To Hide comes next and the album slows down significantly to give the band a chance to make a song that loses nothing in aggression or passion but in speed. After seven rocking anthems, this little hiccup is forgiven, not by sheer virtue of aforementioned fact, but because this progressive and evil sounding epic kicks every bit of ass that the previous seven songs did. The show is again stolen by the amazing Rick Hughes as he screams, grunts and snarls his way through every word without ever screwing up the phasing of anything. Truly this man is one of the greatest singers you’ll ever hear, he embodies the spirit of a vocalist as his voice, all dimensions of it, is an instrument all its own. The songs best moment comes right after the solo: My soul is on the line, I shall repent. For those who died, FOR THOSE WHO DIED! And I don‘t know WHERE TO HIDE! - 10/10

Then comes Stuck In Rock, which is where, for once, the lyrical content kind of kills the flow of the song. The song is the slowest on the album and for a while it is okay, but one glaring flaw comes through in the lyrics. It is okay to sing such primitive lyrics with a vocalist like Rick Hughes, but I just had to say something bad about this album I guess. The hooks in the melody are contagious, the chorus is as effective as any but the song just doesn’t match up to the first eight. - 7/10

Does this mean the album has finally failed? Well, remember what happened the last time you started to doubt anything the band was doing? Well… Evil Spell comes next, and…

Even if "Stuck In Rock" were the worst song of all time, however, it still would not blemish the following masterpiece, "Evil Spell", truly the best song on the album. Opening with a melancholic synthesizer as only Sword can write, this titan quickly slams into an anthem reprimand of the strife of man's existence as it records the history of an individual who has permeated into purgatory. To be sure, none of the lyrical material here is exceptionally groundbreaking, but it's delivered in such a way as to make the most of Rick Hughes' potency as a performer, and, when combined with music heavier than Sabbath and darker than the blackest of metal, becomes enough to send a chill shiver down the spine of even the hardest of hearts. Rick again screams or snarls every word and it is here that the Death Metal influence takes over. Listen to that chorus and try to say you don’t hear elements of Morbid Angel, Possessed or Death in it. The solo is blazing with evil intentions as the song gives no doubt how you make a song about pure evil and hell and still be taking seriously. - 100/10

This is, in short, the metal song. That's right, the. Black, heavy, bruising, chaotic, nihilistic. This is the summation of one bands journey through an album of setting standards they could not even live up to. It documents like none other the basic primitive nature of Heavy Metal. No band this side of Sabbath and Priest have ever given one record that fully illustrates every good thing about Heavy Fucking Metal.

The musicianship is tight and strong, the rhythm pounds throughout but the true highlight throughout was Rick Hughes. There are very few singers who can carry a band, especially in a genre that places larger emphasis on music, but once you hear the mans solo releases you will see why anyone stating it is criminal for him to be unheard by Metal fans is 100% correct. No other singer can be elevated to legendary status by just one album except this man, not Bruce Dickinson, not Rob Halford, not Geoff Tate, not Russell Allen, not even Rik Emmett. That doesn’t mean he is better than these men, but it does mean he deserves his chair at the table of great vocalists.

So if you want fun Metal the way it was supposed to be, meaning without the makeup, hairspray and spandex pants of the time period, get this. If you want a revelation on how to make an album with one goal in mind, that being to kick ass and take names of everyone and/or everything in your path, get this. Or if you just want to hear one of the greatest and yet unrecognized vocalists doing what he does best, get this. For whatever reason you can think of to purchase an album, let this be at the top of your list. You will not be disappointed in anyway.

Aw hell, it's got METAL in it's title - 100%

Sigillum_Dei_Ameth, October 26th, 2009

I love shit like this. 100% pure Heavy Metal with no substitutes.

Oh, this aint your cheesy A&R hard rock that was claimed to be Metal back in the 80's when they were no more than a shade paler than Winger, no this is the kind of Metal that you will enjoy at the drop of a hat. This is the kind of Metal that you were born to head bang to. The is the kind of Metal that is encoded in your fucking DNA that when those opening chords blast out of your speakers, you bow down and headbang like your in the front row with studded leather gloves and spiked wristbands.

Sword were a Canadian Heavy Metal band that released two albums. The even more amusing thing is that they started out as a fucking KISS cover act but then one day they grew a set, got their shit together and started playing excellent stuff. They played a style of metal that has elements of power metal, traditional metal and at times a hint or two of thrash metal in terms of vocal delivery. Imagine a more epic version of Anvil mixed with Armored Saint with a lead singer that sounds like goddamn Tony Martin from Black Sabbath's "TYR"...oh yeah, he's that's damn kick-ass. At points he sounds like he is going to venture into cheesy territory like on "Children Of Heaven" but then at the last second he turns around with "Get down on your knees...AND START TO PRAY" and complete bitch slaps you in the mouth with a steel glove. The sound production is top of it's class that gives it a golden sound.

The opener "F.T.W." isn't about screaming "Fuck the world" but more about screaming "follow the wheels of fire"....could have fooled me, but man, for an opener I get a hard-on! "Children of Heaven" is an epic sing-along, and "Stoned Again" is a testosterone-injected rocker. "Dare To Spit" will have you head-banging 8 ways to Sunday with the completely tempo-changing and almost song changing riffs.

Uh-oh…what is that...oh wait that opening to "Outta Control" will sure fool you into thinking the machine has run out of fuel, but it's just beginning. The most heaviest track on. This is the song you sing when you're at work one day and say to yourself "Fuck this shit! I'm getting outta here and having some fun! Hey boss I'm sick. Won't be back til Monday morning. What's that? SICK OF THIS FUCKING JOB!" A locomotive machine at ramming speed right through your house.

"The End Of the Night" is total "Where Eagles Dare"-worship with it's opening bass licks. A loud galloping motherfucker of a main riff. Rick Huges fucking COMMANDS you to take charge of yourself from wimping out. Oh and "Runaway" aint about some stupid 16 year old dropout whore who turns tricks and sells her tight pussy on Hollywood Boulevard, nu-uh. Another song about showing balls and being a man in trying to live your own life. Did I mention that opening melody? It will have guitars nerds blowing their loads over. "Nowhere To Hide" and "Stuck In Rock" are both straight-forward W.A.S.P.-influenced rockers. "Evil Spell" reminds me of Running Wild in some parts as far as the galloping NWOBHM-styles bass and drums.

There you have it folks. Not one bad track. All the right influences and sound that will have you coming back to this album for when you want to go absolutely mental in a completely Metal way.

Indestructible - 95%

ElectricEye, March 15th, 2007

Yes, that is a ninety five. That's the highest rating I will give to an album that isn't "Sad wings of destiny".

An insignificant Canadian cheese-metal band? Has the man gone insane? Not quite yet, but "Metalized" is, in a word, insane. This album is what metal is all about. Let me spell that again:

This album is what metal is all about.

"Metalized" is without flaws. Well, it's too short, but so is life, and at least the CD player comes with a repeat button. Possibly, this is the shortest album I will ever give such a high rating (though "Hail to England" comes pretty damn close), but it's simply that good. Ten fantastic songs, an outstanding drive and a vocal delivery for the ages.

If you're looking for some uncomplicated, bare-bones rocking heavy metal, without the endless "Girls! Girls! Girls!"-chants and arena posing, this is it. "Metalized" is sometimes traditional metal, sometimes speed metal, but always with a relentless riff presence, and ALWAYS with the sole ambition to convey force. These guys don't care how rich they get, they just play. This is called integrity. In the mid-tempo tracks, the energy is so tangible you can feel the air vibrating of contained power, and then they just unleash everything at the end of the song, fulfilling all the pent-up expectations.

Unless they just erupt from the start, like in "Outta control". That song has got to be the most perfect all-out rocker I have ever heard. It embodies everything about our way of life. "OUTTA CONTROL! I'M OUTTA CONTROL! I'M READY TO ROCK! I'M READY TO ROLL!" Corny as hell, but it WORKS, and that's simply because of the band's focus and irresistable energy. Most other bands would come off as embarrassing, trying something THAT stupid. But Sword mean it - they are here to rock, not pose. Not all the lyrics are quite as lowbrow as "Outta control", but if you're looking for ancient philosophy...keep looking.

"I was headbanging the whole thing through!" - Socrates

There's nothing even close to a skipper here. For an album with songwriting this simple, it also feels remarkably varied. We got the fast songs (aforementioned "Outta control" and "Runaway"), the powerful mid-tempo pounders ("Stoned again", "Dare to spit"), the wonderful galloping opener "F.T.W.", the creepy closer "Evil spell", and the all-of-the-above-divine "Where to hide".

Even the songs that on first glance are more modest ("The end of the night", "Stuck in rock"), are punishing in their own right, and doesn't break up the flow of the album at all. If these songs can be called fillers, what they fill is the void in your life. I can listen to this album every day, and it never fails to get me going. Never. There's a hook every second, and every single one is honest.

Which is why I must issue a word of warning: Do not be intimidated by the nonsensical Kiss-associations on the band page. Kiss was a pathetic circus act, so far below Sword's level of destruction, it's not even funny.

And then we got Rick Hughes. This guy is one of the most underhyped singers in history, if not THE most (I'd count him in my personal top 10 without a shadow of a doubt). He is 100% power, attitude and humanity every given moment. This without resorting to vocal bullying a la Blackie Lawless, who puts his voice at the forefront of the mix, and bases every song around it. Not so here. Hughes doesn't have to, he just summons the thunder from the bottom of his lungs and effortlessly rises to the required level - and stays there. The interplay between vocals and guitars is PERFECT, neither mixed above the other, allowing both to excel all the time.

Are you old, fat and bald? Got a crappy job? Your wife just left you for your dad? Your neighbours beat you up with your own grocery bags?

FUCK THAT!

No matter how old and tired you think you are, "Metalized" will remind you that you are young and alive. That's why we love metal, and that's why I love this album. Over and out.

Favourite songs: "Outta control", "Where to hide", "F.T.W.", "Evil spell", "Children of heaven", "Dare to spit", and on and on. They all rule.

powerful debut - 90%

metalpesant, April 1st, 2006

For most people outside Canada, Sword were pretty much anonymus but they were quite important in Québec where they toured intensively for a good number of years (I must have seen them a 100 times) throughout the 80's.
They were around long before their debut got out and were featured regularly
in the province's metal press.

Sword's sound can best be described as Dio era Black sabbath (a bit like
early Savatage but heavier) due in great part to Mike Plants guitar playing,
and mostly soloing. Lead singer Dan Hughes' voice is raspy and aggressive,
not at all like Dio's but very original and powerful. The production on this record is top notch as the band waited the signing on a major label to release their very rehearsed material, as a matter of fact, Sword could have recorded an album on an independent label at least two years prior to this release but actually waited for the big break that never really came.

From the incredible galloping of opener F.T.W. (follow the wheels ...and not f*** the world) and it's great chorus, to the eerie Evil spell that closes the album, what we have here is a great mixture of heaviness and melodicity. Best examples would be second track Children of heaven and side B opener(track 6) The end of the night, heavy energetic mid paced songs where the vocal melodies don't shy away from the heavy drive of the guitar.

The highlight of Metalized though, is undoubtebly the angry Dare to spit (originally called Dare to spit on my grave) with it's numerous beat changes and aggressive delivery, and again with an effective chorus. Sword's debut in it's entirity is solid from track 1 to 10 and is a must for all lovers of strong and powerful 80's metal.