Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Review: The Sword- Warp Riders
The Sword are a band you either get or not. If you don't like retro metal that Sabbath and Priest would be proud of, you can leave now. However if this is the thing you can jive with, and if you get pass goofy Rush-like concepts and J. D. Cronise's less than stellar voice, welcome home. Austinites have taken notice as well as huge metal outlets like Ozzfest and those dudes in Metallica have professed their liking for the quartet and expanded the band's fanbase with each album. On their third album, the band finally makes a name for themselves, taking a gamble and succeeding...kind of.
Warp Riders is the type of album you can release deep into your catalog, just three albumsin, it's a gutsy move to release a concept album that's a hell of a lot heavier than we've come to expect. Warp Rides is heavier than the first two albums, but the band has taken strides to make their sound better by being heavier. In this case, bigger is better.
The album kicks off with "Acheron/Unearthing The Orb" which is complete with no vocals, displaying just the type of sound that'll be revisited throughout the album. It's loud, it's clean, but it'll knock you off your ass with how fresh it sounds when you put it up against most metal band gaining popularity. The first single off the album. "Tres Brujas" follows with two guitar solos at the same time that's utter mayehm. Ignore the lyrical content, and it's one of the best rock songs of the year.
"Arrows in the Dark" doesn't display better lyric writing, but it's hard to deny the musicianship and talent with the band. All four members show their cards and everything is top notch because they actually sound like the give a shit about what they're playing, something most young bands forget. Following "Arrows" is "The Chronomancer I: The Hubris", the longest song on the album, but also the highlight. In nearly eight minutes, they tackle rock from Sabbath and Zeppelin to Metallica all in one swift kick to the ass, it's all here, and it's all done right.
The album's second half is a little dreary unfortunately. "Astraea's Dream" isn't anything we haven't heard from the album's opener and almost crosses into wankery territory, but almost into crappy New Wave of American Metal territory, something the band is way better than. The title track that follows more than makes up for that lapse and shows Cronise doing his best Ozzy impression. It's a song so heavy even the Ozzman Cometh would be proud.
The album closes with "(The Night The Sky Cried) Tears of Fire" which much like "Chronomancer I", has the band going harder than anything while displaying their talents of rocking the fuck out, it's a closer worty of praise for an album that has this young band ready to take the next step of being arena gods.
Warp Riders may not be a mainstream breakthrough for the band, they're one album away from that, but don't say I didn't warn you. With a growing fanbase, a heavier sound showcasing 70's heavy metal with a cleaner production, and the band's constant touring, The Sword are going to make a name for themselves. Making Warp Riders is a huge step and a challenging one, but the lesson learned here is that the band doesn't fear anything and just wants to rock, and that should be a creed for many bands to follow.
**** out of *****