My overwhelming impression based on having seen the Sword play, and having heard their records, is that they are an indie-rockers-playing-metal metal band. That is not meant as a diss. I don't live in Austin and I don't hang with the band so maybe I'm off base. But I get the sense maybe they liked Metallica or Priest in highschool, but then they got way into Pavement or Sebadoh for about a decade before re-embracing metal. And that's just fine.
Tip-off #1: horn-rimmed glasses frames on stage. I mean, come on.
Tip-off #2: Irony. The Sword are steeped in it. They like to wink and they like to nudge. Now look at, say, Manowar. There is no irony there. In the eye of the beholder, sure, plenty. But coming from the band? None.
I want a reality show where The Sword and Manowar live together in a beach house for a month, with a truckload of Heinie and a full LARP arsenal. Then we would see who is true metal.