AlbumsNovember 29, 20119,158 views

The Sword Warp Riders

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
2010 Kemado Records
Our score 8


On their 2006 debut, Age of Winters, The Sword won critical acclaim by showing off their love of all things Sabbath. Even J.D. Cronise's vocals brought to mind a young Ozzy Osbourne. On their newest album, Warp Riders, Cronise and Co. continue on their journey through the '70s, but this time they hit upon the poppier side of early heavy metal. Don't forget that the term came from a Steppenwolf song. The conceptual storyline about an alien Archer, who has been exiled from his space tribe and is now in search of redemption, is of little importance, because the sci-fi plot takes a backseat to the music. Warp Riders is really all about The Sword just letting loose and rocking out. "Tres Brujas" is rife with boogie-woogie guitar lines and a sing-song chorus that is catchy as hell. They pull off a spot on Clutch impersonation with the blues-box-based "Lawless Lands." The swaggering number "Night City" has an infectious hook that gets stuck in the head like a crayon in Homer Simpson's brain. Their Down sound surfaces on "Arrows in the Dark" and "(The Night The Sky Cried) Tears of Fire," with chunky chords chugging along with expert drumming and little guitar licks that highlight their still sludgy sound. As jarring as this evolution may be to some Sword stoners, Warp Riders isn't all Deep Purple and Ted Nugent worship. The opener "Acheron/Unearthing the Orb," is a thrashy instrumental ala early Metallica, proving that The Sword are still adept at ripping riffs as well as bongs. "Astraea's Dream" brings the whiplash with dueling guitar harmonies coalescing into a big burly breakdown and killer wah-wah solo. "The Chronomancer II: Nemesis" returns to the original Sword sound, with a slow, nodding intro that then ramps up the BPMs with a gallop worthy of Iron Maiden. Bottom Line: A lot of people are not going to like the turn that The Sword has taken on Warp Riders, but the current state of aggressive music is saturated with one-note acts who do nothing but repeat themselves ad-nauseam. Instead of simply rewriting their debut again, like they did on Gods of the Earth, The Sword have taken their prehistoric sound and retro-fitted it with a classic twist, creating something fresh, yet nostalgic at the same time.


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xmusicislifex_ 9/29/2010 9:30:48 AM


thatdude_ 9/29/2010 11:04:41 AM

I agree with the score and most of the review, however in the last part you write: "Instead of simply rewriting their debut again, like they did on Gods of the Earth." I really couldn't disagree more, because that is the exact opposite of what they did. Gods of the earth is way more clean and complex in its sound than their debut. Nevertheless I like all three albums and think The Sword is one of the few bands left in the heavy metal world that's actually bringing something new and refreshing, d

gloriousjohnson_ 9/29/2010 11:58:01 AM

"pull off a spot on Clutch impersonation" I f*cking cringe every time this song comes on, the middle of this cd bores me.

nicerdicer_ 9/29/2010 6:01:49 PM

dudes in scarfs are stoked

ebbnflow_ 9/29/2010 11:30:03 PM

loved Winters...hated Gods..REALLY luv Warp.

arty_mcfarty_ 9/30/2010 5:30:57 AM

how much payola could webby possibly be getting?

maxisnotdead_ 10/1/2010 6:26:52 PM

This album is f*cking terrible.

funeralopolis_ 10/3/2010 12:40:08 PM

weak shit. joshua is a moron. band is garbage.

anonymous 10/4/2010 10:52:26 AM


hutch13_ 10/18/2010 12:24:35 PM

thatdude hit it on the head. i too am a fan of all 3, feeling 1 and 2 are different enough - while "Warp" is obviously quite different. Still about the almighty riff. This is still stoner metal, just with clean production. Much props. Now as far as the "grade A moron" funeralopolis, the job of a reviewer should not only be to give their opinion, but deconstruct enough to say why. so even if they do not like it, i find out why - cuz maybe that is why i would like them. *(e.g., some one who disreg

Steve_ 10/26/2010 2:35:19 PM

Album of the year, hands down.