Review: The Sword | Warp Riders

Kemado (2010)
By REYAN ALI  |  August 31, 2010
2.5 2.5 Stars

1008_Sword_main

Releasing a concept album is one of the diciest games a band can play — there's a thin, frail line between ambitious, intelligent storytelling and haplessly overdoing a bad idea. Austin four-piece the Sword give it a shot with this their first concept album and third full-length overall.

The Archer is a sparely sketched loner who journeys through the galaxy for some reason that involves a mystical orb. The Sword unravel his saga with all the pageantry they can muster: planets in dark space, witches, mercenaries, Greek mythological figures, and track titles like "(The Night Sky Cried) Tears of Fire" and "The Chronomancer I: Hubris." It's all accompanied by rough-edged but uninventive heavy metal that moves with lively speed and gives every performer lots to do.

Warp Riders is overcooked — it screams "Epic!!!" by demanding epic riffs, epic characters, and epic turns of phrase — but that's what makes it kind of appealing. With their Frank Frazetta–esque cover art, tenacious playing, and tracks about space pirates, the Sword pay adoring tribute to an awestruck brand of decades-old metal — the kind that squeezes entire new worlds into song, giving you something peculiar to visualize while headbanging. As a wholly serious project, Warp Riders is self-indulgent and only passable. The real concept here is some guys concocting a grandiose sci-fi metal saga. That's what makes this release entertaining and endearingly sincere.

  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Frank Frazetta,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY REYAN ALI
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   MARNIE STERN | THE CHRONICLES OF MARNIA  |  March 13, 2013
    In the arena of charming and entertaining indie-music figures, Marnie Stern stands unopposed.
  •   NO REST FOR BLACKBIRD BLACKBIRD  |  March 13, 2013
    Blackbird Blackbird's 2012 EP Boracay Planet takes its name from two sources: Boracay — a beach-filled, postcard-perfect island in the Philippines — and a dream Mikey Maramag had about the tourist trap, despite never having visited.
  •   WILD BELLE PUSH MAGICAL BUTTONS  |  February 11, 2013
    Wild Belle's multi-ethnic allegiances — Afropop, reggae, and rocksteady — fuse into American indie-pop and classic rock. Results are, at varying times, tropical, tepid, and tempestuous.
  •   THE LUMINEERS AIM FOR THE RAFTERS  |  February 01, 2013
    Jeremiah Fraites isn't famous — at least not yet. The drummer of the Lumineers, the folk trio who experienced an outrageously fruitful 2012, is talking to me two days before appearing on the January 19 Saturday Night Live, but he doesn't sound convinced that his band have crossed the fame threshold.
  •   PHANTOM GLUE COME INTO FOCUS  |  January 23, 2013
    Variations of "nightmarish" and "psychedelic" come up repeatedly as Matt Oates describes his band's work — which makes sense, given that Phantom Glue trace their roots back to Slayer, the Jesus Lizard, and cult post-hardcore act KARP.

 See all articles by: REYAN ALI