The Sword – Warp Riders   33 comments

Ever since their debut album dropped in 2006, The Sword has gotten a lot of shit from a lot of metal fans.  Fuck them — not The Sword, but these so-called real metal fans.  I don’t even know what “real” really means.   Apparently one is “real” metal fan if one only listens to lo-fi black metal or only wears white Reeboks or only frequents shows in venues that hold less than 300 people or only plays symphonic progressive doom metal with black tendencies or only who the fuck knows.  As far as I can tell, the most vehement stentors claim that The Sword isn’t “real” metal because their “hipsterish” tendencies.  It would appear the fact that a bunch of emaciated douche-bag fucks, i.e., hipsters, latched onto a sub-genre of metal was too much for metal purists to handle.  Don’t like the fact they’re drinking out of the same water fountain as you (=the metal purist, as I assume you’re a deficient), eh?  Fine.  Disregarding the fact you’re probably a 287lb. (for all the European readers, do the conversion and see that I’m right), long haired, bigoted turd, who lives in his mother’s basement and thinks the burning of religious establishments should be condoned if not adamantly promoted, we can agree that hipsters are idiots.  But following your logic to its conclusion, you should (and I hope you do) suffocate yourself in virtue of the fact that hipsters breath the same air as you.

Just to be clear, I will state three necessary truths that hold irrespective of the purist’s inane and insipid opinions:  1) High on Fire is the best thing to happen to metal since early ‘Tallica; 2) Sunn 0))) crushes live; 3) The Sword is to the modern metal as John Carpenter was to to horror from ’77 – ’88 — the complete fucking package.  As a case in point, listen, love and worship “Warp Riders”, The Sword’s newest concept album (Kemedo Records) due to drop next week.  From the cover art (Dan McPharlin is the fucking man), to the subject matter (umm… channeling Frank Herbert, are we boys?)  to the tunes themselves, this is an illustrious and epic album. (As of right now, it just is making my top three of  2010.) 

To give you a better idea of what we’re dealing with here, according to vocalist/guitarist John Cronise:

And I quote:
“It’s a science fiction story, and it deals heavily with themes of light and dark and perceptions of time. One of the main settings is a planet, which has experienced tidal locking, creating a side of perpetual day and a side of perpetual night.” 
Source: Blabbermouth.Net
And I quote:
“Warp Riders tells the tale of Ereth, an archer banished from his tribe on the planet Acheron. A hardscrabble planet that has undergone a tidal lock, which has caused one side to be scorched by three suns, and the other enshrouded in perpetual darkness, it is the background for a tale of strife and fantasy, the battle between pure good and pure evil.”   Source: Sword Of Doom

Granted, every asshole artist is a hyperbolic, self-aggrandizing twit, who claims their most recent effort is the latest and greatest.  And the only thing worse than a concept album is a double album.  (The problem with digital media is that it robs me the satisfaction of burning “The Guessing Game”.)   But really, in the case of “Warp Riders”, the blatant self-promotion isn’t far from the truth.   I’ve spun this album roughly six times since picking it up the other day, and these guys have managed to lay down the closet thing to “Foundation” a 48 minute rock album can get.  And after  a shitty day at work, coming home, popping in “Warp Riders” and “cross[ing] the universe in hyper-spacial flight” is exactly what I wanted, and needed, to do.  (I suppose I can sympathize with those pathetic souls who killed themselves when they realized they never would be able to inhabit the world of “Avatar”.  Escapism is an underrated but necessary byproduct of a surplus in resources.)

I’ve made it known that I could give two shits less about lyrics (cf. Metallica “Frantic”), but “Tres Brujas” is laden with some of the coolest fucking lines since “From Beyond”:  “Three witches you shall meet, on the path to your fate.  The first will love you.  The second will deceive you.  And the third will show you the way.”  Umm, fuck yeah?  There’s nary a bad tune on here (stand outs have to be “The Chronomancer I: Hubris” and “Night City”) (And for the record, I need to start drinking when I write these reviews, because my descriptions of albums in general are getting a tad bit repetitive.).  I’m sure the album will be criticized for sounding like, well, The Sword.  I never really saw that as a bad thing, as should be obvious.  For someone who likes all things retro,  I appreciated the fact that the album is dripping with more classic rock influences than Sabbath, which is more than could be said about “Age of Winters” and “Gods of the Earth”.  (For some reason, I keep hearing Sweet circa “Desolation Boulevard”, but maybe I’m just tone deaf.)

You know that feeling you got when you saw “The Thing” for the first time, especially when the alien fucking burst out of that fucking dog?  Well, listening to “Warp Riders” for the first time felt almost like that.  Almost.  In conclusion, I conclude you should buy this fucking album. I’m a fucking poor formal semanticist with no real job prospects after my tenure as a doctoral student, and I still managed to shell out $50 for the deluxe-we’ll-throw-in-the-kitchen-sink-painted-with-our-logo package.  It comes next week, and I’m oh so very excited.  And for all you metal purists out there, who will spend the next week bemoaning The Sword and those cut from their cloth, take solace in the fact that, while I’m enjoy spinning my vinyl copy of “Warp Riders” and guzzling down six pack of PBR just to spite you, you’ll still be fucking cunts.

Official Site
Band Myspace

Review Written By A.J Djalali

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Posted August 20, 2010 by doommantia in The Sword

33 responses to “The Sword – Warp Riders

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  1. Ha Ha well put, I hate the hipster metal attitude towards bands like these. I even got blasted by a black metal kid for liking High On Fire, some just think that once you make it to VH1 or MTV you have no cred.

  2. Yeah I remember someone saying to me if Electric Wizard videos were on VH1, he would find it hard to listen to them anymore. W.T.F – Its about time bands like that did make to TV, better than the usual crap they play. I just don't understand the logic.

  3. I am really surprised by this review, I downloaded the album and haven't made it all the way though yet. The guitars are too clean, not heavy at all. The songs are good but the production kills it, just my opinion but the debut album blows Warp Riders away.

  4. Yeah I find the guitars too clean too and I don't like the production either but I do like most of the songs but everybody has a right to their own opinion. I have read a few reviews for the album and its been very 50/50.

  5. I don't like the album at all but I have nothing against the sword, I have seen them live and they are a great band. I just feel they have missed the mark with this album.

  6. it's the total experience for me, really.

  7. I heard a lot of people talking bad about this album and actually cancelled my pre-order 12″. Then I actually somehow magically heard the album and spent more of the money I don't have to re-pre-order. To hell with the naysayers, this album rocks hard.

    Guitars too clean? What does that even mean? By such standards the totally audible crushing basslines on HOF's Snakes should be shite because they're audible. But they're not. Instead they are crystal clear weapons of mass destruction. Much like the riffs on Warp Riders How about listening to the songs/compositions instead of some totally abstract notion of a good guitar tone?

  8. as far as the comments regarding the production, it all depends what you want really. like i said, they moved away from just being sabbath to throwing in a little zz top, sweet, etc.

    that being the case, it makes sense to dial down the guitars.

  9. Well, i didnt like the previous two albums, and i didnt like the band
    whatsoever. But, im actually liking this album. Funny shit. I almost feel
    embarresed 🙂

  10. I don't give a shit about “hipster this” or “hipster that.” This band fucking sucks and so does this album. Derivative wannabes with a shitty vocalist and ridiculous lyrics.

  11. I like Gods Of The Earth the most! Probably because it's close to High On Fire 🙂 The sound of Sword's last one is too bustling for me, not likely something I'm gonna listen to a lot..

    Exactly, if Electric Wizard would show up on MTV – that would be awesome! The underground is in the sound, not in the surrounding context. What WOULD suck: if Jus Osborn (in the aftermath of their new-won MTV mediated succes – would team up with Fred Durst or Evanescence 😛

  12. I knew this album would spark a debate but I don't really know why. Why people get such a strong reaction from this band is a mystery. There is a million bands out there, if you don't like The Sword, listen to some other band and move on.

  13. Why do people hate the sword so much, this album kicks ass.

  14. The album is classic metal, if you don't like it, don't buy it. Why do you have to force your narrow-minded views on everybody about it. The same thing happens a lot with High On Fire.

  15. I will put in my vote for The Sword, good band. Maybe overrated but also over-hated, some folks have no life so they have to resort to picking on someone.

  16. I really like this band, and have seen them every time they have come to my city. They have always been great live. I was really looking forward to this album. I have listened to it 5 or 6 times now, and it is ok, I still like their previous works more, but I'll still go see the boys when they come to town. I'm glad to see there are many opinions. I agree the production is a little too clean. But, oh well. I'm going to drink my PBR and listen to the new Earthride album, now that sucker slays…

  17. Agree with you there, I love all the Earthride albums but the new one is maybe their best I think.

  18. High On Fire rules. The Sword is not even in the same league. Pretenders.

  19. Everybody hates on the Sword because they were almost unknown anywhere, yet they immediately got signed to a major/indie ($$) label, were given tour support (!), recording budgets (!!), publicists (!!!), and curiously ended up on nearly every big metal bill you could find in no time at all. They only played a handful of shows in their hometown before getting signed. How many no-name metal bands do you know that are scoring those kinds of deals these days? And hello…they're labeled “hipster” metal precisely because they're on a boutique NYC hipster label. Shoe fits?

    Rather an odd career arc for a “metal” band in an industry that's gasping it's last breaths, eh? I dunno, that's just seems, well, kinda inauthentic, much like the Sword's rehashed Sabbath riffs and overplayed crash cymbals.

  20. To Anonymous: Yeah that is exactly way they are hated by most, I don't hate them but I also get a bit annoyed by their sudden rise to fame. Same thing with Australia's Wolfmother, they had only played a few gigs before getting signed to a major label and you know what happened after that. At the end of the day though, its still the music that counts for me. I couldn't care less about what label they are on and I do like the Sword but I do wish other bands would get the breaks that they did. There is a 100's of bands that deserve it more than The Sword but you know, the music business is one of the most un-fair businesses around. Its all about money and not art.

  21. To Anonymous: So the The Sword are signed to a label owned by Disney. Well, maybe they were better connected than other bands, Maybe they just got lucky (right place, right time makes a difference) or there's always the vague possibility that they write better tunes than other bands. I see a certain green eyed monster rearing it's ugly head here.

  22. OK I'll retract the inauthentic slam. They sound great but not in proportion to their fortunes, which I think can be best attributed to a well-funded boutique label that has niched the market of collegiate-types with ample disposable income whose metal loyalties begin at their parents' CD collections and end at stoner metal. I'm not just pulling that out of my crack – the Sword's last few club shows in Austin were at the uber-trendy Mohawk and they're playing the granola-y Austin City Limits Festival next month, for example.

    Many suburban-bred, media over-saturated 20-somethings want to have an excuse to go to the Metallica concert and fly the devil horns, which overall isn't a bad thing, but a lot of them won't be lsitening to Metallica much after that show.

    The metalheads don't like that coz they don't understand why a lot of the folks they see rockin' to the Sword and Mastodon and Metallica aren't supporting their favorite bands too. For the last 10 years they've watched well-established metal bands struggle to pull down business and living expenses from increasingly older and fragmented audiences, and they sctratch their head when a band like the Sword vaults thru the major metal ranks playing mostly outside their recognized metal community. Metal music is a dying art/genre, but it's also one with a fiercely loyal fan base. The faithful you see out pre-gaming at Maiden and Priest shows are dead serious about the shit. Dismissing them as metal purists ain't gonna make them go away.

    That said, I wish the Sword all the best.

  23. Forget hipster, now it's Disney Metal! For their next album The Sword will record a new score to the movie Fantasia complete with stoner metal versions of The Nutcracker Suite and The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Dude, it's gonna be so freakin' heavy Walt Disney's frozen corpse will thaw and walk the earth again!

  24. Ha Ha, Disney Metal !!! Maybe Disney Doom will be the next big thing !

  25. fuck you that sword rocks

  26. I will let that last comment slide but in future, keep it nice please.

  27. I love The Sword, and Tres Brujas is the shit, great review, etc etc…

    Where did you get your doctoral degree in linguistics? I'm applying to places for formal semantics (not limited by spatiotemporal concerns), and am stuck looking at Berkeley, New York U, and U of Amsterdam.

    Advice?

  28. You will ask A.J about that one, you can find his contact info on the contact page. Thanks for viewing the site.

  29. Funny how everybody seems to hate them yet want to talk about them so much.

  30. Sorry but anyone that thinks this album is better than simply very average must be hearing something I don't hear. The Sword are just a C grade band at best and this album blows chunks.

  31. Man this sucks, I'm listening to this shit right now. Pretty bad. The Dragonforce of doom/stoner or the boyz to men of metal or whatever.

  32. The comments keep on coming ha ha.

  33. This album fucking rocks. It is the best album to date by this band, since Age of Winters. Gods of the Earth was a bit of a lull, but it seems in retrospect that they were in a transition period of sorts, trying to figure out their direction and sound. When I first heard Age Of Winters I was totally blown away. heard Freya on a random local radio station in SF, and immediately fell in love. It baffles me when people go on about how the riffs are weak, and the band is boring, cause I feel totally opposite. I get way amped listening to their music. Warp Riders is an amazing album and gets my vote for top 5 metal albums of the year for 2010, along with Rammesses, Black Breath, Zoraster, and Ufommamut.

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