Overall Score: 6/10 : /10 : /10 : /10 Pros: Cons:
I remember it well. I was driving home one Monday night, via the fish & chip shop as I’m a total health freak, and thought I’d try out the new ‘concept’ album from The Sword. The shiny new disc was duly inserted into the player and there it lived for a solid 5 days. I swear when I eventually did take it out it was hot enough to fry an egg on. I was totally immersed in this album. Start to finish 8 times in a day with no let up. And if that wasn’t enough I was sticking it in my ears at bedtime to subliminally listen to the bastard. I found myself dropping it into everyday conversations with people who had no interest at all, preaching to all I met like some kind of metal Messiah. It may not have been what they wanted but it was sure as Hell what they needed. I was completely obsessed. For 5 days straight this album was my life, my bread and water. I could well have been foaming at the mouth, who knows, I was in a total daze. It’s safe to say, I like this album.
Having now built your expectations to an unreachable summit I will tone down the gushing and try my darnedest to be grounded. The band have been described as Stoner, Doom, Heritage, Retro and even Hipster Metal?? Whatever these labels mean The Sword appear to have stepped outside of them. The Sabbath influences are still there, in particular on ‘The Chronomancer I;Hubris’ with it’s buffed up ‘Sweet Leaf’ riff but having spent time on the road with Metallica the riffs appear bigger and heftier than on previous releases. For me ‘The Chronomancer II:Nemesis’ is the standout track on the album; building for a good 2 minutes before it coughs up a stormer of a riff guaranteed to make you whip out your air guitar. There really is little criticise here, I struggle to find moments of weakness. That said, having bandied this album around since it’s release the vocals appear to divide opinion. Personally, I have no issue and feel they compliment the nostalgic feel to the band.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Warp Riders and the way that it has bullied itself into my top ten albums of the year so far. Tastes change over the years but we always come back to our roots with a certain fondness. So, The Sword may not be breaking down barriers but they have produced a solid, exciting and often exhilarating record that embodies everything that you initially loved about the genre.