The Sword is an American heavy metal band from Austin, Texas. Formed in 2003, the band is composed of vocalist and guitarist John "J. D." Cronise, guitarist Kyle Shutt, bassist Bryan Richie, and drummer Santiago "Jimmy" Vela III. Originally signed to New York-based independent label Kemado Records, the group released its debut album Age of Winters in 2006, which was largely written by Cronise before the band's formation. Follow-up album Gods of the Earth was released two years later, and gave the group its first entry on the US Billboard 200 chart.
In 2010 the band released Warp Riders, a concept album centered on an original science fiction narrative, which marked the first time the band had enlisted an external producer in Matt Bayles. Original drummer Trivett Wingo left the group later in the year, and was replaced briefly by Kevin Fender before Vela joined in 2011. After leaving Kemado and signing with Razor & Tie in early 2012, the group released its fourth album Apocryphon in October, which was promoted worldwide on the Apocryphon Tour.