One of the foundations of the metal revival of the past ten years, Austin TX’s The Sword have released two flawless slabs of vintage heaviness on Kemado Records, toured the world with Metallica, and were honored to grace the past three editions of Guitar Hero. This summer, the band casts its gaze to the stars for Warp Riders, their third full-length and their most ambitious effort to date. Hitting stores on August 24th via Kemado Records, it is the band’s first concept album and is fittingly grand in scope both lyrically and in terms of musical craftsmanship.
This also marks the first release where the group has worked with an outside producer. Helmed by Matt Bayles (Pearl Jam, Mastodon, Isis), Warp Riders is anchored by an epic science-fiction narrative. The storyline is a psychedelic space opera that explores temporal themes of death and rebirth.
The album also finds The Sword expanding their range from pure metal to include bone-crunching hard rock at large. Rather than dampening their sound, the band actually sounds more amplified than ever, spewing out some of their most scalding riffs to date and channeling an unearthly bellow from their low end.
Opening track “Acheron/Unearthing The Orb” begins with ominous, fog-drenched atmosphere before a flurry of nimble fretwork and galloping drums storm out of the gate. The energy doesn’t let up once and by the final moments of closing track “(The Night Sky Cried) Tears of Fire,” an intensely satisfying resolution sets in. Guitarists Kyle Shutt and JD Cronise execute punishing acrobatics while injecting melody at every turn. Bryan Richie’s warm bass lays down the foundation and ripples with menace. Trivett Wingo’s drumming explodes with the perfect balance of both precision and dexterity. Each member of The Sword is an individual force to be reckoned with, but when united they come together like the four horsemen of the apocalypse to wreak havoc like no other.