Review Summary: Their best classic metal reimagining to date.Warp Riders
reeks so hard of retrograde rock that playing it on anything aside from vinyl should be made illegal. Punishment? Obstruction of Righteous
It should be known by now that the boomy, mid-saturated sound of The Sword
is unashamedly a throwback to the days of Black Sabbath
and Deep Purple
, with riffs that borrow heavily from the pages of Iommi and Blackmore. The sludgy, classic tones have become warped themselves in their journey through time, the inescapable influence of the musics-made-since have left a inevitable impact on the band as a whole, more so on this installment then on any of their previous discs.
Horns in the air, folks: Warp Riders
rocks. It's their best written and played album to date, though it's been taken in a much more rock-ish direction than it's two predecessors.
(I've been told there's a concept behind the album. I'd much rather cauterize my sinuses with hot charcoals than spend time reading about an albums back story, and focus on the music itself.)
The first and biggest point about Warp Riders
is the confidence on display here; The riffs here will piss on your leg as soon as look at you. They're ferocious, moving walls of tidal force that drown anything in their wake (including the vocals, more on that later). The groove on display here is a masterwork of less-is-more, using what limited technical dynamics the band chooses to espouse and make one hell of an effort in the process. "Lawless Lands", with it's bluesy, deliberate gallop, makes for a good specimen here. And like the rest of this album, it's made for loud. "Night City" introduces itself with a slithering intro, giving away to a monstrous groove made to move mountains.
The sticking point here has always been the singing. Although we see quite a jump in quality from Gods of the Earth
to where we are now, it's still a point of contention. I'll concede it's easily the least important part of the band, with the music deservedly taking center stage, sometimes it can actually detract a little bit from the total package.
That being said, it doesn't detract enough from it you can't listen to it. The retro-metal scene has always held musicianship over frontmen, it seems, so if it's not that big of a deal to you there's quite a treat in store for you here.