The Sword - Warp Riders
The epic journey through space, time and musically scientific consciousness has been released by one of the most rock solid metal bands to land on the planet Earth. The tale began in Austin, TX in 2003 with the most powerful four horsemen of the metal-apocalypse known as The Sword and has gained unrestrained momentum ever since. After creating two completely solid records of vengeance, fury and might, the men of The Sword have landing their spaceship on the goldmine of concept albums titled “Warp Riders.” Gather an old pile of science fiction novels from the 1970s and combine the mystical metal sounds of what sounds like a full orchestra of rhapsody and you have “Warp Riders,” a truly defining album of 2010 if not of the decade.
The album is packed solid with intrigue split into two slabs of sound; the first half of the record being “Part I: The Archer & the Orb” ending with “Part II: The Android & the Sword,” both pieces holding a tightly knit flow throughout the entire 48-minutes. Entering the gate from the title track, “Acheron/Unearthing the Orb,” the non-lyrical blast summons the Three Witches which appear on the second track “Tres Brujas.”
The tale throughout the record told is of Ereth, a warrior/ archer, which has been banished from his tribe. He must battle himself and the rest of the universe through his travels finding that the gloom and doom are not always easy to defeat, but through the darkness he fights with the sounds of The Sword guiding him. Think, “The NeverEnding Story” combined with “Heavy Metal” and a dash of “Star Wars.” The “Warp Riders” story itself was written by The Sword front-man J. D. Cronise, and was entitled “The Night The Sky Cried Tears Of Fire.” Cronise explains on the band’s web-site that the title character of the record Ereth, after being banished, is directed on a mission by the Chronomancer (“The Chronomancer I: Hubris” [track 4]) to restore the planet’s balance. He battles and encounters many creatures along his journey, which makes “Warp Riders.”
The album carries the listener into each track offering an advanced sound, a dissimilar place to transfer imagery through music. Entering the “Lawless Lands” (track 5), the raw sound gallops across a wasteland of unknown beings and creatures.“Warp Riders” is the first record by The Sword where they pulled in an exterior producer; in this case they used Matt Bayles, known for his work with Pearl Jam, Mastodon, Norma Jean and many others. It is easily heard that the band had more focus on this record than the previous “Age of Winters” in 2006 and “Gods of the Earth” in 2008, Bayles offered the band more freedom to focus on the tale.
Entering “Part II: The Android & the Sword” the band turns on the hyper-boosters and soars into metal obligatory-doused freedom. The skills of each member of the band are shown within the sound pages; J. D. Cronise’s vocals and guitars gather heat and speed, Kyle Shutt’s guitars are the flame to the fire, Bryan Richie’s bass thunders each track and Trivett Wingo’s drums dish out the needed solar backdrop.
As The Sword guides through each passageway they gather speed and sound waves that surpass previous engineering. As they reach the “Night City,” the eighth track, the album’s structure is nearly complete. Another dose of the Chronomancer in “The Chronomancer II: Nemesis,” splattering the mental fluid all over the floor, opening up the brain to absorb each ounce of The Sword’s fury of fast-paced yet controlled debauchery. The final stretch leaves the listener with “(The Night the Sky Cried) Tears of Fire” a triumphant ending to an absolute story.
The Sword has proved themselves one more time with “Warp Riders,” offering a tale to follow, a concept to consume and a level of technical ability that surpasses countless acts within this planetary realm.