BY FIRE & SWORD – Glory (2023)

BY FIRE & SWORD - Glory (2023) - full

BY FIRE & SWORD from Boise, Idaho, USA, present the debut full-length album “Glory“, and if the band’s name or album title makes you think of epic metal and endless battles, you’re wrong. BY FIRE & SWORD aren’t about the kinds of glory attained by disdaining fortune and splitting skulls. Imagine instead Stryper’s bigger, meaner brother, who’d fallen to drinking and drugging and left the faith only to suffer frightful visions and start an apocalypse cult. And now he wants you to join with him. In Jesus. Forevermore. Welcome to the other kind of ‘Glory’.
Yes this is a Christian metal band, but on “Glory” they’re so disturbingly mocking of Christianity.
Musically, BY FIRE & SWORD are quite unique, some kind of a mix between Wytch Hazel, Blue Öyster Cult and Iron Maiden. And they add a dash of weird catchiness and proto metal.
Yes folks, “Glory” is way more interesting and brave than the vast majority of trad metal releases this year.

Since opener “Leave a Little Room” with its guitar-driven sound akin to Wytch Hazel, you’re greeted by meaty, tasty riffs. Then frontman the ‘fictional’ Reverend Tim Tom Jones (yes, really) started speaking of joining flocks and divine visions, doing so in the forceful, frenzied way a revival church’s proselyting preacher would, making things suddenly uncomfortable. But when the obscenely catchy, very Ghost-y chorus hits supported by sweet Iron Maiden-friendly harmonies, it’s a revelation that ensures the message sticks deep in your holy space.
As I grew increasingly concerned that these Boisians were aggressively sincere God-metal types out to lay their testimonials on me, things took another unexpected turn towards the creepy, and bad touchy-grabby, thereby revealing the whole thing as one big, sacrilegious parody of organized religion.
We can all get behind that, right?

Anywho, ”Glory” is a shockingly entertaining collection of songs blending traditional metal with some retro sound akin the first BOC as the band take massive cheap shots at the Christian denomination and splinter religious groups / cults.
It’s all done with tongue planted firmly in the cheek of Jesus and with an ear for genuine hooks. Not only is “The Feast” a really good song with righteously galloping guitars and a charmingly ’80s metal vibe, but the lyrics are some of the best and most hilarious I’ve heard in ages. You can’t help but root for them as they rock their faux-Jesus nut schtick to Hell and back.

“Tithe (The Money Song)” is comedy gold with the Reverend extolling the benefits of giving all your cash to the Lord supported by a chorus somberly intoning, “You MUST tithe!” Elsewhere, “Glory, Love and Light!” is another infectious tune channeling Theocracy’s power metal energy to drive the party bus into the light, and “The Flood” adds shades of acoustic with certain darkness.
Every track works and brings an upbeat, God-fearing joy to the sinner’s heart. That said, the 5-plus minute instrumental, “A Moment of Silent Reflection” could stand humble trimming.

Considering the high parody level of the act, the players are very talented and write really good songs. Mike Ward and Artos are gifted guitarists who craft all manner of rollicking traditional metal leads and bring a vibrant power metal sizzle to certain tracks. You hear Maiden, Ghost, Wytch Hazel, Witchfinder General, Blue Öyster Cult in their playing, and that’s a good thing. The Reverend himself brings a clean, classic metal vibe to the vocals.
It makes for a uniquely nutty 49 minutes which fly right by. The band’s strength is knowing how to craft hooks that stick you to the cross for the long haul.
You might even call the album a passion play of sorts.

I suspect the fallen angels behind By Fire & Sword were exposed to intense religion in their youth and were disillusioned by certain obscure things, and this is how they take their unholy revenge. They’re on a hokey religious theme supported by legitimately good metal music and slick writing.
Definitely a different metal band, and good.
Highly Recommended


01 – Leave a Little Room
02 – Fear and Trembling
03 – The Feast
04 – Tap the Conduit
05 – Tithe (The Money Song)
06 – Glory, Love and Light
07 – A Moment of Silent Reflection
08 – Mind, Body, Soul (Total War)
09 – The Flood
10 – Dear Reverend (Please Take My Hand)

The Reverend Tim Tom Jones: Vocals
Bro Jeffrey (Mike Ward and Artos): Guitars, Bass, Programming
Jeff Black: Synths, Vocals
Isiah Fletcher: Drums
Anthony Parry: Keyboards, Organ



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