SWORD - III cover
  • 7.1/10
    SWORD - III - 7.1/10


Label: Massacre Records
Release date: November 25, 2022

User Review
9.5/10 (2 votes)

Canadian Heavy Metal foursome Sword is back with III, which will be released on November 25 on Massacre Records. This eight-song full LP has a runtime of 35 minutes and is the first release since Sweet Dreams (1988).

Sword Bio

Sword was founded in 1980 by brothers Rick (Vocals) & Dan Hughes (Drums), Mike Plant (Guitars) & Mike Larock (Bass). Sword’s first album, Metalized was released in 1986 and followed up with Sweet Dreams in 1988. Metalized and Sweet Dreams were both given high praises within the Canadian Metal community but did not have much commercial success outside Canada. The band paused in 1992 and regrouped in 2011. Since regrouping, Sword released a live album, Live Hammersmith (2016), and a CD single titled, “In Kommand” (2020).

III after 34 years

Sword’s sound can be described as Traditional Heavy Metal with influences of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and DIO mixed together. Songs are often filled with chunky riffs and heavy mid-tempo grooves. Rick Hughes’s vocals fall in the baritone range producing midrange tones with a good range of mid-highs and mid-low range.

On this album, Sword mixes up-tempo rockers and mid-tempo rockers with chunky riffs and pounding bass throughout the album. The drums are solid and fill out the backbone of the album. The first single “(I Am) In Kommand,” is the heaviest song on this album with a really heavy uptempo riff and hard-pounding bass that is a kickass song. The other up-tempo song on III is “Not Me, No Way”. “Unleashing Hell”, “Dirty Pig”, and “Spread the Pain,”  are mid-tempo rockers injecting enough melody into the chorus making these songs memorable and easy to sing along with.

Lyrically on III, Sword sings about “Unleashing Hell” in Montreal in 1986,  “Bad Blood” taking over one’s soul, to being the ruler of one’s own world in the song “(I Am) In Kommand”. The second single “Dirty Pig”, focuses on those individuals at the top falling to the bottom having reaped what they have sown.

The Good

Compared to Sword’s first two releases, Mike Plant has really stepped up his guitar performance on III as his guitar solos are more prevalent on III. Guitar solos were nearly non-existent on Metalized and Sweet Dreams and bring an added dynamic on III. None of the songs sound repetitive with each other on III but at the same time are what you would expect from Sword compared to the previous releases. Production is solid throughout with good performances by all of the members of the band.

The Not So Good

The opening track, “Bad Blood” could be considered the weakest track on the album. “Bad Blood” is a mid-tempo song that lacks the energy of the other songs and the repetitive chorus of “Bad Blood” seems lazy. The fourth track on the album is an instrumental track, “Surfacing.” that feels out of place.

Final Thoughts

Sword’s III is a solid Metal album that should satisfy fans of Traditional Heavy Metal. “(I Am) In Kommand” sets the pace as the first single and “Dirty Pig” is a solid catchy second single release that will grow on you the more you hear it. The real question will be, does it checks enough boxes that it can give Sword a stronger presence outside of Canada?


  1. Bad Blood
  2. (I Am) In Kommand
  3. Dirty Pig
  4. Surfacing
  5. Unleashing Hell
  6. Spread the Pain
  7. Took My Chances
  8. Not Me, No Way

Album Lineup

Rick Hughes – Vocals
Mike Plant – Guitars
Dan Hughes – Drums
Mike Larock – Bass


  • Mark Zagotti

    Mark is a reviewer for Metal Express Radio since 2022. He first discovered the power of Hard Rock in 1985 as a teen when he first listened to Twisted Sister's cassette Stay Hungry. In his teen years, Mark was introduced to bands such as Kiss, Metallica, and enjoying the time that Rock and Metal ruled MTV. His first Heavy Metal concert was Clash of the Titans in 1991, where he experienced the site of a SLAYER mosh pit for the first time. Ever since that moment he has been a METAL HEAD for life. Mark's musical tastes have expanded over the years enjoying music from bands ranging from Ghost, Amorphis, Paradise Lost, the Big 4, Behemoth, and just about everything in between.    

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