UG Articles Archive

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review: The Sword's new album "Warp Riders" is fantastic

Listening to "Warp Riders" was my first experience with The Sword's music since playing "Freya" on Guitar Hero, and I must say that they've made a fan out of me with this album.  Hailing from Austin, Texas, The Sword is considered by many to be a rising force in the world of metal, and with good reason.  "Warp Riders" is, honestly, one of the best albums I've heard all year.

The album opens with the instrumental "Acheron/ Unleashing the Orb," a superbly mixed piece with catchy and heavy riffs that reminds me more than a little of Mastodon and Baroness.  I say "superbly mixed" because, when listened to in stereo, (I suggest headphones for best results) you really feel as if the band is playing in the room with you - the lead guitar is clearly on the right, rhythm predominantly on the left, with drums, bass, and vocals distributed fairly evenly on both sides.

The first single from the album, "Tres Brujas" kicks in next with a killer classic heavy metal riff reminiscent of a more creative AC/DC or faster Black Sabbath.  The song begins to tell the story that the rest of the concept album fleshes out, a wispy, barely-there narrative about an individual's cosmic journey.  (Mastodon's "Crack the Skye," anyone?)  When the vocals kicked in, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that singer J.D. Cronise had improved over the band's earlier work, but I wasn't really impressed either.  I get the impression that Cronise's range is rather limited, resulting in a somewhat predictable vocal structure on each song.

Standout tunes include the groovy, midtempo "Lawless Lands," hard-hitting title track "The Warp Riders," and the furiously catchy "Night City."  "Lands" hits you with a thumping bass beat and military-march snare before throwing in a galloping, funky verse section.  The chorus is huge on this track, throwing in an organ part to the background to add even more of a classic rock feel.  "Warp Riders" has an extremely cymbal-heavy drum part, and feature's the best, most varied vocals on the album.  Over sludgy riffing, Cronise sings a description of the space-travelling Warp Riders and their encounters with various space-nemeses, such as The Negatrix of the Starseas.  Whatever these guys are on, I want some.  "Night City" sounds like a KISS track during the chorus section, and a Sabbath song during the verses.  Great stuff:

I failed to find a single bad song on the album, nor anything that I could deem filler material.  If you're a fan of modern metal, old-school classic rock, or anything in between, you really owe it to yourself to give "Warp Riders" a listen.  The Sword is going places, and this album is going to take them there.

Rating: 9.2/10

No comments:

Post a Comment