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The Sword – Warp Riders

August 4, 2010 by  

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The Sword – Warp Riders

NAME: The Sword
ALBUM: Warp Riders
DATE: 24August2010

LABEL: Kemado Records


FIVE WORD REVIEW: Cliched rations of old-school metal

LOCATION: Austin, Texas

LINE UP: J. D. Cronise(vocals/guitar), Kyle Shutt (guitar), Bryan Richie (bass), Trivett Wingo (drums)


WHAT’S THE STORY?: Firstly, `Acheron/Unearthing The Orb’ introduces the listener to The Sword’s traditional style of heavy metal, and it becomes increasingly apparent that they’re a group of masterful musicians. In retrospect, this instrumental track may follow a formulaic structure; though any critique is extinguished with the arrival of a devastatingly heavy opening riff. Even The Sword’s worst enemies would discover themselves involuntarily nodding their head throughout this triumphant exhibition of metal.

`Tres Brujas’ introduces the vocals of singer, John Cronise, who delivers a vocal style that harbours a startling similarity to Ozzy Osbourne. Initially, his vocal delivery is commendable, but it soon enters the realm of monotony. From a musical perspective, the track also carries an unambiguous resemblance to an unwanted Black Sabbath studio track.

`Lawless Lands’ symbolises a contemporary Led Zeppelin, as the group subdue their metal tendencies and focus on classic rock. Whilst the song will appease fans of the genre, it consequently defuses the album’s flow. In general, rather that sustaining a metal fan’s appetite, Lawless Lands acts as a deterrent to continued listening.

Thankfully, The Sword inject more aggression with their next track, `Astraea’s Dream’: an instrumental track that sounds akin to Ride The Lightning-era Metallica. Progressively, the track’s intensity strengthens until a raucous guitar solo spells its climax, illustrating classic metal panache. The group seemingly shine without their vocalist’s Ozzy Osbourne impersonation, and it’s clear that frenzied metal is where The Sword’s truly impress.

At track eight, `Night City’ is the album’s most accessible song. The track ticks all the boxes required in classic rock, as titanic riffs, galloping drums and a memorable chorus assemble in a 4 minute salvo that teleports the listener to 1980. Unfortunately, `The Warp Riders’ is the total antithesis of Night City’s excellence, evidencing the group’s inconsistency.

The Chronomancer II:Nemesis’ chaotic guitar work reignites Metallica comparisons, though their vocals detract from the experience. Lead singer, John Cronise enhances the album’s classical rock tracks but conversely weakens heavier tracks.

Fundamentally, The Sword are an incredibly talented collection of musicians, yet they seem content with paying homage to their heroes. If the group were to condense their inspirations and emerge with an independent style of music, these Texans could reach astronomical heights of popularity. Instead, we are left with a skilled, but ambivalent record that doesn’t appear to recognise its own identity.

SOUNDS LIKE: A concoction of decorated 1980s rock artists. Metallica, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin are only three of the bands that seemingly inspired this shining example of musical schizophrenia.

YOU’LL LIKE THIS IF: You ignore any music that was produced post-1989.


Submitted By ASmith



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