Megaton Sword Strikes with Undeniable “Might” (Early Track Stream + Interview)
Megaton Sword is perhaps the most exciting thing to happen to Swiss metal in my books since Celtic Frost and Coroner. This is not necessarily because there has not been other great metal in the years since those bands dominated the world, or even because Megaton Sword is all that, but because I am just not aware of other Swiss bands since then that I like as much and I refuse to educate myself prior to writing this article. That’s it, it’s over, discussion ended: Megaton Sword has won Swiss metal. Seriously though, I do like them quite a bit, and this is my second time covering them after doing an interview with the band in early 2021. Though I liked them well enough then--or else I would not have interviewed them the first time--to my ears they’ve improved quite a bit since then, and their new album Might & Power really does live up to the praise in the intro in a way that their first album didn’t. That’s what a band wants, though, right? To hear that their new record is better than their earlier material?
Today’s new song “Might” (which for some reason falls after “Power” in the tracklisting- opportunity missed!) really shows off that growth, both in terms of their actual songwriting and in terms of the confidence that lets that songwriting shine. The song opens with a quick ambient ramp-up and the singer, the boldly pseudonymed Uzzy Unchained, actually screams the song title right before the first killer riff drills out, sharp and hard as steel. If the song sucked, that sort of song intro would just seem cocksure and lame, but instead the riff is cool and it actually fucking works! I don’t think the Megaton Sword of 2020 could have written “Might," but this one clearly could, and they goddamn well did. The rest of the song lives up to what they decided to call it, and has a great mixture of tough as nails swaggering hard-metal riffs, big choruses (two guesses what word Uzzy screams during it, and the first guess doesn’t count), faster riffs, and the classic slow-riff-fast-drum, which remains an eternal favorite of mine.
Though we’re really here to talk about “Might,” it’s worth getting excited for the rest of the album, since the whole thing goddamn rules. They’ve really come into their own and the variety of both writing and techniques utilized across the whole thing works really well, making for a stellar album that’s as memorable as it is unpredictable and fun. This is certainly the same band that wrote the incredibly, delightfully strange verses on Niralet but now with the strength of force and clarity of vision to elevate their raw talent. Megaton Sword strikes like the presumably very heavy and sharp sword they’re named for, and Might & Power is not to be missed.
Read below for the band’s statement on the song, and a quick interview with the band. Blast “Might” loud while you read it.
Whoever is vomited onto the riverbanks of Üyg faces a bleak existence. Here, the Neekog offspring is left to its own devices, growing up without protection and in solitude. Having survived the first years they roam the endless steppes in search of prey. Woe betide anyone who carelessly sets foot in these lands and disturbs their twisted peace. In war, they gather. Then their blood-soaked skins glisten iridescently in the moonlight as they distill might from the corpses of their enemies and greedily immerse themselves in Rooba inebriation.
Your first album and debut EP featured striking artwork from Adam Burke and his pieces almost seemed to be a part of your natural permanent aesthetic, but Might & Power instead features a Paolo Girardi piece. What made you decide to switch over?
Thundersteel: Adam Burke’s pieces were indeed a great way to set the overall aesthetic tone for the band and a great way to showcase the splendor of the world created by Uzzy Unchained. For this album we wanted the artwork to be more grotesque and closer to the action. So we
knew right away that Paolo Girardi was the right man for the job, as no one captures vileness more beautifully than him.
What was the artwork concept originally, and where did it come from? Did you conceive it from the start with Girardi’s style in mind?
Thundersteel: Yes, we already knew we’re going to work with Girardi when the idea for the artwork was conceived. This time, Uzzy was solely coming up with the concept for the artwork by himself. As the two previous covers, the scene is set on the planet Xarkahar and features
references to our old artwork. For example, the tomb-like chamber is located in the underwater harbor that was also visible in its resurfaced state on the Blood Hails Steel artwork. Plus one might recognize the woman laying in the sarcophagus. But maybe the concept also came from listening to too much Gorguts…who knows.
Might & Power has a great interplay between more traditional pounding riffs and sections that are perhaps a bit different- for example, the tremolo sections, or some spacier ones. Where does the inspiration for these parts come from? Are they planned beforehand?
Sorcerer: No, these parts are usually not planned in advance. I get my inspirations from all kinds of sources, picking out individual ones is almost impossible. Once I come up with a cool riff, I sit down and try another part until I have a spontaneous inspiration. So it's a bit like the try and error principle. Anything can happen, because I have set very wide musical limits on how a Megaton Sword song should sound. Also important to me are all kinds of dynamics both within a song and in the overall album context. I probably can't write a song that consists only of fast riffs, for example. But there is one exception on this album with "Babe Eternal". I really wanted - despite initial skepticism - to try a piano song and I think we have mastered the fine line between drama and kitsch in favor of the drama very well. I am curious how the reactions will be.
When I last interviewed Megaton Sword, Seth had only just joined the band. Has his presence significantly changed the dynamic of playing and writing music?
Thundersteel: Indeed it has. While the music was always written for two guitars, this time the focus was laid even more on the interplay of them. There are many parts on the album where they almost duel each other. Seth’s and Chris’ playing styles are quite the opposite from each other yet they complement each other perfectly. Plus we took advantage of his ability to shred some ripping solos, which is something new for us as well. He’s also just really fun to have around so luring him to Niralet to start shredding for us was the best thing that could happen for us.
In your own words what separates Might & Power from Niralet and Blood Hails Steel - Steel Hails Fire?
Angel: Blood Hails Steel has a lot of hymns, where Might & Power is more focused on the heavy aspects. It draws a lot from the sound of Blood Hails Steel and Niralet but on a much wider spectrum of sonic possibilities. This is the biggest difference in my opinion.
Is there any chance of Megaton Sword making it over to the United States in the foreseeable future?
Thundersteel: Alas, we wish to make it over there as much as our fans there wish us to make it! Unfortunately, there is a lot of bureaucracy and money involved to play the U.S. as a European band. All I can say is that we started brainstorming first ideas on how to make this endeavor happen. I really hope we can make it over there soon.
Might & Power releases February 24th via Dying Victims Productions.