I first found out about The Sword the old-fashioned way(well, old-fashioned for me).  I was flipping through the channels on the t.v. and noticed that the only redeeming thing on MTV was on, Headbangers Ball.  So, like a good little metalhead, I sat and watched some metal videos.  Unfortunately, that evening they were showing a bunch of crap and I was about to give up and change the channel.  Then, a video starts with the words “THE SWORD” flying from the screen with a snowy forest backdrop and a sludgy intro riff.  What ensued after was 4 minutes of kick ass, no-frills, old-fashioned metal.  From that moment I was complete sold.  The next day I went out and pick up their masterpiece album “Age of Winters”.  That was back in 2003.

Now it’s 2010 and The Sword has released their 3rd full length album entitled “Warp Riders”.  Just like the way I discovered this band, they keep things old fashioned.  Album art that would look better on a beat up vinyl case, check.  Minimal instrument effects, check.  Orange amps, check.  A Side:A and a Side:B, check.  Sci-fi concept, check.  Pretty much everything about this album seems old school, but at the same time it sounds fresh and new.

As I stated before, the album is a concept album that follows the story of an archer named Ereth who is banished from his planet Acheron, in which one half of the planet is in eternal shadow and the other half desolate due to the unrelenting burning suns.  Along his journey through the universe he encounters different characters, witches, androids, pirates, ect, and finds himself a spaceship aptly named “The Sword”.  The story is told through the lyrics and also through the music, so you do have to use your imagination a bit, but that’s the fun part of listening to an album like this.

The music is a bit more direct for this release, but not in a bad way at all.  The guitars are brought up a key, the vocals are clearer, and the drums are a lot more crisp.  The riffs and bass still grind like World of Warcraft player, and have more grooves than a 70’s disco.  The solos and leads have adventurous, bluesy feels to them and the drums keep everything nice and tidy(but not too tidy ;oD ).

Being that this is a concept album, the musical and lyrical themes carry on throughout the album pretty much making it a 45 minute long song and should be listened to from front to back for the full effect.  So, transport yourself back to your teenage years, skip a day of school, lock yourself in you room/van/where ever, spark up a J(if your into that sort of thing), pop your headphones on and let The Sword and crew take you for a fantastic voyage through outer-space and journeys through lawless lands.  9.25/10

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