The Sword - Warp Riders review
|Release date:||August 2010|
01. Acheron / Unearthing The Orb
02. Tres Brujas
03. Arrows In The Dark
04. The Chronomancer I: Hubris
05. Lawless Lands
06. Astraea's Dream
07. The Warp Riders
08. Night City
09. The Chronomancer II: Nemesis
10. (The Night The Sky Cried) Tears Of Fire
Imagine that Black Sabbath meets Trouble. They take a nostalgic ride in their meticulously restored 1977 Ford Mustang Cobra II. On the way they pick up some guys from Sleep. They listen to doom metal and some stoner rock all the way to their destination. Once they arrive, they open a big closet with a huge "The 70's" sticker on its doors. There's a lot of stuff on the shelves. They rummage around and take the heaviness of Black Sabbath. Just below is the shelf labeled "tempos." After a moment's consideration they decide to take just a little bit more than doom would normally require. They're a bunch of chilled out dudes, so they take a ton of that cool, relaxed atmosphere that oozes tranquility, amusement and weed. Someone takes a pinch of stoner rock, just enough to hint at the taste of it. Once the ingredients are put in a crucible, they're ready to be ground into a dish called Warp Riders.
My little imaginary trip describes how I feel when I listen to the latest album of The Sword. Worshiping the 70's is these guys' favourite pastime. It was eminent on their debut, Age of Winters. It was refined and perfected on Gods of the Earth, which I thought was one of the strongest releases of 2008. Warp Riders stands somewhere in between those two. While a little better than the debut, it doesn't top their sophomore effort. But let's focus on the pros first.
The first and foremost advantage of this album is a high number of catchy and memorable guitar riffs. Take "Tres Brujas," "Astraea's Dream" or "The Chronomancer II:Nemesis" - the riff fest presented by The Sword is plain cool to listen to. The riffs seem to fluently follow one another, their logic and harmony is a pleasure to behold, if you can behold with your ears that is. Another strong point is J.D. Cronise's singing. He successfully mimics the style and idiom of the singers of the 70's, almost sounding like young Ozzy Osbourne in some songs. His style is not my favourite, but I have to admit that he does his job well. He doesn't have the strongest of voices, but it's mixed in with the music in such a clever way that it fits.
So much for the pros. The cons are here as well, unfortunately. As much as I admire The Sword's knack for good riffs, I can't help noticing that they were even catchier and more memorable on Gods of the Earth. It may be unfair to make such direct comparisons, but it's the band's fault - they got me used to the excellent, so now I'm not sated by the very good. Another weaker feature is the production. It's somehow smooth and polite, it lacks the sting and kick of Gods of the Earth. Sure, the guitars are crunchy, the cymbals crisp, the bass drum sufficiently low, but as a whole, the production isn't so wonderfully old school like it was before. It doesn't pack a punch like Gods of the Earth did. I have a stinking suspicion that someone had radio stations in mind much more than before.
I'm a bit torn on this album. I like The Sword and I would like to give them a much higher mark, but it would be dishonest to anyone that reads this review to get the idea about Warp Riders. This is a decent release with some cool riffing, but it only delicately glides over the glory of The Sword's previous album, and never reaches its depth and excellence.
||Written on 18.09.2010 by Writes overly honest and totally subjective reviews when fancy strikes him. Which is not often. Which is probably good, all things considered.|
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