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The Sword – Warp Riders: Review

September 1, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

On August 24, The Sword released their latest album, Warp Riders. Many say it is a different approach than the other albums, though I still find it unmistakably an album by The Sword. They have not let down so far, and this is no exception. Sword-fans; here’s one more gem to the collection.

The Music (rating: B+)

  1. Acheron/Unearthing the Orb
  2. Tres Brujas
  3. Arrows in the Dark
  4. The Chronomancer I: Hubris
  5. Lawless Lands
  6. Astraea’s Dream
  7. The Warp Riders
  8. Night City
  9. The Chronomancer II: Nemesis
  10. (The Night the Sky Cried) Tears of Fire

Many different genre terms have been tossed around with this album: heavy, alternative, stoner, doom, etc. It is difficult to simply tag a genre onto the music, but Warp Riders has a bit of all of those (plus a light touch of progressive). There is consistently crunchy, tuned-down guitars with clean vocals. Furthermore, the diversity of dynamics and tempo show how nearly impossible it is to label this record with a genre. Still, the album is clearly distinguishable as one by The Sword. However, the material is still fresh regarding the band’s catalog up to this point.

In Warp Riders, the band delivers a fine performance on all fronts. The guitar riffs are great, and the drums are excellent in unleashing their full potential. Additionally, the drums are excellent in manipulating dynamics as well as pace, bringing the music to a higher level altogether. A fine supporting role is played by the bass, which at times can be overshadowed by the guitar. The vocalist is more than standard, but less than amazing. His phrasing is decent and his tone feels natural, but the technical level of presentation is not to be impressed by. On another negative note, the guitar solos are more often than not filler. That being said, there is no wrongdoings by the instrumentalists, but there are different stages of quality within the overall band performance; some being average, others being quite good, none being amazing.

Included in the “none being amazing” category is also the musical craftsmanship in general. Because the guitar is so upfront and primarily audible in Warp Riders, it will be the main source of my nitpicking. There are some flashy riffs and an abundance of solos, but nothing flowing with substance. After numerous listens, the music is unable to hold its grasp on the listener. Sooner or later, the cool riffs here will become mere segues to the next band’s cool riffs. Whether it be with the guitar or the music altogether, the depth is not even in close proximity with the face value that is shown.

Warp Riders is a great album, but not one that can keep its value for a long period of time. Still, it is a welcome addition to The Sword collection, and fans are bound to rejoice with this release. Though different from the band’s former material, it still flows naturally and speaks out the word of The Sword. Yes, they are good musicians and instrumentalists (specifically the drummer), but there is definitely room for growth. They are a band on the rise, and Warp Riders has only solidified their presence as a notable metal band in today’s scene.

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