19 June 2013
The Sword - Warp Riders
A metal album with a sci-fi theme - some people will hate this without me typing anything. This is the third album released by The Sword who hail from Austin, Texas in the USA and are down as being a HEAVY METAL band. This is an understatement - the only way this band could be less metal is to a cover band. I sure if you cut them in two the following would happen - 1) you would have to use a metal cutting instrument - 2) The names of all the members of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden would be written on the corpses like the writing on rock in Blackpool, UK. This is a very old school vibe album, it is as if there has been no musical change since 1987 and they even feel weird about anything past 1979. So you can already guess what you’re going to get with this album, but is it any good.
When this was released in 2010 there was a lot of people who hated it for it’s backwards is more approach in their eyes. To the haters, it was not progressive; it has been done by a thousand other bands and why have another retro band like this. To their supporters, it is a joyful trip and harks back to when music was better and who is this Korn you keep going on about. The music is full of solos, big riffs and a story about a planet in tidal locking - this is where one side of the planet is in permanent day, another in permanent night. This is also the first album to be produced by someone outside the band - duties were handled by Matt Bayles who has also produced Alice In Chains, Mastodon, Soundgarden and others. The production is one of the big plus marks for the album and kept me interested. Whilst listening to this album I found "Acheron/Unearthing the Orb" to be a brilliant opening track - also whilst the album does have two sides, each opened by an instrumental (old school to a t) - and loved the epic feeling of "The Chronomancer I: Hubris". When metal is big, it tends to play to its strengths.
Now I have lived with this album for over a week, and I have to say as well played as it is I just cannot get away with the overall tone of the project. It is too backwards for its own good - retro metal does not always have to be like this. Look at bands like The Answer, Airbourne and Opeth - all looking back but with fresh ideas. This album does not have something that I have not heard done better by the original masters of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, etc, etc, etc. It does not take anything away from the performance - if music stopped in 1979 for you, this might be the album that you have needed for your collection. If not, even with a stellar production job you’re going to find little to keep you interested here. Depending on what side of the line you’re on will determine your mark. So after reading this you can probably guess mine. I appalled the standing in the face of father time and telling him to fuck off, but all the marks are for the production.
3 out of ten - Not for everyone but played well
You can purchase the album from here
You can visit the band's website here
You can listen to the album on Spotify here
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