Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Sword: Warp Riders (2010) Review

The Sword's latest album Warp Riders has gotten some mixed reviews. Those outside the heavy metal universe tend to like it a great deal, but those inside it (notably Decibel) aren't too impressed.

There has always been doubt about how "trve" The Sword are. But with how excellent their first two albums were, who cares? They've had a decidedly old-school interpretation of stoner/sludge metal, but some think the sound of Warp Riders is a huge departure. Some also think the shift from fantasy-inspired lyrics to sci-fi is a huge leap, and both thoughts are about equally dumb.

Yes, it is slightly less heavy than their previous output. It's decidedly more in a COC Deliverance style. But who the hell doesn't like that album? The heaviness can still be found in a few places, like "Arrows in the Dark" and "The Chronomancer II: Nemesis". There is a stronger hard rock influence, but that works well in a lot of the leads. The only time it seems like a misstep is also the only low point on the album, "Night City". They've also thrown more embellished songwriting at us, with two excellent instrumental tracks and other long instrumental sections keeping my attention perfectly well.

It's not a huge departure. It's an appropriate evolution.

The Verdict: Only a few bands can manage to stay interesting without evolving, and The Sword doesn't exactly fit the Motörhead mold. So, evolve they must if they want to stay relevant, and this is a great direction for The Sword. It's not as heavy as I wanted it to be, but they're not making it for me, and they make up for that in a lot of ways. This is a very solid release, and I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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