The Sword this week released their third studio album titled Warp Riders. For die-hard fans of the American hard metal band there will be something tangible to take from the concept album. Its subtle change in direction, much mooted by the band and associates, will be a welcome idea to those who relish in the genre.
Lyrically I cannot fault the album, there seems to be a touch of the homage to Shakespeare within the lines and there is the telling nod to the house of Progressive Rock, it is something that the likes of Argent would have dallied within their heyday.
Overall though, the album itself is too reminiscent of early Saxon/A.N Other N.W.O.B.H.M sound but with crucial differences, there is no loveable English eccentricity, no warmth in the songs that would grind you down over time and even though the band have described Warp Riders as their concept fantasy metal album it doesn’t reach the heights associated with Queensryche’s Operation Mindcrime or Iron Maiden’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.
Heavy Metal has moved on significantly since the days of the early eighties when bands just had to stand on stage and thrash out a few chords to get the audience excited and it is a real shame that The Sword feel as though they have to go back to this style which is better left to those who lived and breathed it.
And whilst I applaud the idea behind the songs, the music sounds dated in their hands.
Unfortunately I cannot get excited about this album and it’s a real pity as the idea is a good one.
Ian D. Hall