Sunday 27 July 2014

Choice Cuts: The Sword - Warp Riders (2010)

Years Active: 2003 (2003)–present
Records to date: 4
Genre: doom, stoner, heavy metal
Label: Razor & Tie, Napalm Records

The Band:

  • J. D. Cronise | vocals, guitars
  • Kyle Shutt | guitars
  • Bryan Richie | bass
  • Trivett Wingo | drums, percussion


As a big fan of The Sword and their great Stoner rock/Doom sound, I was very excited to listen to their album sci fi concept album “Warp Riders” and it sure didn't disappoint.

Beginning the album with a very fast paced track.  “Acheron/Unleashing the Orb” is a track that will get you instantly prepared for the rest of the album as it unleashes its thrash metal influenced speed riffing style. A very solid intro track that gets your blood pumping and jumps right into the next track “Tres Brujas”. An old school heavy metal main riff and a catchy chorus come into play as The Sword deliver using more of its simple but great riffing abilities. This track has a very rock n roll feel to it and mid way the song, the band breaks into a very nice groove that keeps you paying attention to what is going on. ”Tres Brujas” is a highlight track on this album and is one of those that you will want to hear over and over again.

On the whole, Frontman JD Cronise seems to have improved when it comes to his vocal abilities, his vocal has more maturity to it on this record. On “Arrows in the Dark”, we hear that rock n roll like groove again and despite this being a mainstay of their live set list, this song seems to lack the kick ass main riff that the band is so easily capable of.  Followed by “The Chronomancer I: Hubris” the album again has influence from the old rock n roll bands of the 70’s , indeed this track reminds me of the band ‘Mountain’ and their heavy but groovy riffs. It is important to note that this album lyrically has some very nice work. I can imagine the epic journey The Sword aims to describe though their music.

The next track on the album is my personal favorite, “Lawless Lands” which has a great main riff and groove that reminds me of ZZ Top. A very great track with some solid riffs that are reminiscent of the 70’s as well as the lead style of the great Billy Gibbons

The rest of the album is very consistent with another very fast thrash metal influenced track, “Astraea’s Dream”, and “Night City” has a very catchy main riff, complete with a very Black Sabbath esque moment towards the end. Overall the album is very solid, whilst not a breakthrough for The Sword, I can safely say you should add to the collection.  A solid album that delivers the type of sound we love to hear from The Sword.

Words by: Frank Heredia

You can the record at all good stockists

Album Details:

‘Warp Riders’ is the third record by The Sword.  It was recorded at Wire Recording in Austin, Texas with producer Matt Bayles, released via Kemado Records in August 2010. Warp Riders is a concept album centred  around a science fiction narrative written by vocalist and guitarist J. D. Cronise.

Matt Bayles produced the record.  On their previous two records ‘Age of Winters’ and ‘Gods of the Earth’ frontman J. D. Cronise handled production duties. . It was also the last album to feature original drummer Trivett Wingo.  ‘Warp Riders’ reached number 42 on the US Billboard 200 chart

‘Warp Riders’ track listing:

1. Acheron/Unearthing the Orb
2. Tres Brujas
3. Arrows in the Dark
4. The Chronomancer I: Hubris
5. Lawless Lands
6. Astraea's Dream
7. The Warp Riders
8. Night City
9. The Chronomancer II: Nemesis
10. (The Night the Sky Cried) Tears of Fire

Bonus track for Japan:

11. Daughter of Dawn