REVIEW: Sword – Metalized (1986)


SWORD – Metalized (1986 Aquarius/Capitol)

I was watching the Pepsi Power Hour one afternoon in the 10th grade when they debuted the first video from Quebec metallers Sword — a song called “F.T.W.” My best friend Bob and I were both watching that day, and we got into the song big time. I was recording and we went back and played the video two or three more times. Later on, lead throat Rick Hughes was in the MuchMusic studio live, and explained that some people thought that “F.T.W.” stood for something else; the chorus of of the song goes “Follow the Wheels”.  The song is about bikers, but some assumed the song “F.T.W.” stood for “Fuck the World”.  I discovered this first hand when I scrawled the Sword logo on my Math notebook, along with the initials F.T.W.  The kid behind me didn’t believe me when I told him I meant it as “Follow the Wheels”.

We were blown away by “F.T.W.”, a galloping metal song with gritty vocals. Bob and I agreed that Rick Hughes had the power and grit of a guy like Dee Snider, but the music was borderline thrash metal.  A couple years later, when I signed up for Columbia House music club, I ordered the album Metalized on cassette.   It was every bit as heavy as “F.T.W.” and then some.  It seemed to lie somewhere between W.A.S.P. or Anvil and Megadeth.  It was on the heavier side of music that appealed to me but I gave the album a shot.  (That is, until the cassette got eaten.  Capitol Records were issuing some of the worst quality cassette tapes in Canada in the 1980’s and Metalized was one more victim.)

The second single was a track called “Stoned Again”.  Hughes clarified on Much that the lyrics are not meant to promote drug use, which I was relieved to learn.  Either way it takes the tempo back from breakneck for a bit, instead throwing in a heavy groove.  “Stoned Again” was every bit as great as “F.T.W.,” and perhaps a bit forward thinking.  A few years later, Pantera would be eating up and chewing out songs like “Stoned Again” at a furious pace.

The rest of the album stands up.  It’s a bit singular in direction, the songs suffering from a certain sameness.  The production is echo-y and typical of many albums of this period.  The rest of the music is virtually all up-tempo, with vicious vocals and biting riffs.  Each song is executed expertly, the guys were not slouches on their instruments, and Hughes could let loose some chandelier-shattering screams.  On “Outta Control” he’s Ian Gillan during the Sabbath phase!  Another highlight is “Runaway” which features a cool Maiden-esque intro riff and a decent chorus.

“Pee away, buddy!” – Dave Mustaine

Metalized is an enjoyable but non-essential romp through the tundra of heavy Canadian metal.  Our winters may be cold but this Sword was clearly forged in fire.

4/5 stars



    1. You might know them as Saints & Sinners. They morphed into that hard rock band in the early 1990s and released one album in the States.

      As you can hear it was very different from Sword. Same singer though.


  1. Something nags in the back of my mind that I heard these guys back in the day, but since I can’t confirm it (my memory ain’t what it used to be), I’ll have to say it’s possible but also not. I like what I heard, in the videos you posted. Haha “pee away,” oh Dave Mustaine. Based on the sound, it ought to have been bigger, especially in the 80s. They shoulda toured with KICK AXE!


    1. Well they are from Montreal, and you resided in Montreal (albeit years later) and maybe you saw the video there?

      It’s too bad there aren’t any videos online in better quality. Damn shame, actually, that there are so many memorable music videos from the 80’s that look like shite online.


    1. Dear Mr. Fury,
      Sometimes late at night I ponder just how much music is out there that I would love if I only knew it existed. Then I look at my collection, see my 3000 CDs sitting there and think, “How much is still here in my OWN COLLECTION that I haven’t heard yet???”

      Music never gets old, never will!


      1. I understand all around. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been doing the “shuffle all” thing and been surprised by some great tune or band that I already own but had not yet given due attention. Implicitly, I also share the joy at being able to “look at” (vice solely listen to) my collection with excitement for what treasures are buried in those grooves (as long as CDs are flat and round, I’ll still imagine them as having grooves).


        1. I believe they technically do have grooves, albeir smaller than the eye can see. However I read an article once that said these grooves are what causes the “rainbow” effect when you tilt the CD under certain light. An LP will do the same but much less pronounced.

          Useless info #10,435.


    1. It’s not “legal” legal, no. It’s overlooked in small quantities more or less.

      The Convervative party looks to be lining up to make this an election issue. The Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has said he’s pro-legalization. The Conservative party have been playing attack ads on the radio on a daily basis about this. It has a woman saying, “Justin Trudeau is condoning recreational drug use, and says it’s OK. That’s not the message I want my kids getting.”

      And I’m thinking, alright then. If your kids are paying attention to politics, that’s great. But I think Miley Cyrus and One Direction have a bigger influence on your kids than Justin Trudeau.


    2. Also just to clarify, they said the song wasn’t meant to promote drug use, just look at another side of the issue rather than “let’s party!” and have some humour as well.

      “God damn I’m stoned again,
      and someone else is me.
      Losing all control again,
      and now I’m on my knees.”


      1. It’s always nice to learn a little bit about politics on a music blog. I don’t know many Canadians I can ask these types of questions.


  2. Keep me posted!
    Actually the companion cd with it is good as well..good to hear updated versions with original singers etc…
    Kelly is a solid dude!


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