Austin metal band the Sword has always had great riffs, but the execution was usually more about passion, not precision. Until now. On their third album, the Sword tighten their game. The most immediate change involves frontman J.D. Cronise, who’s learned how to sing. Warp Riders is a sci-fi concept record — at least that’s what the group is claiming — so the music is more technically adept (guitar solos, ahoy!) and more progressive, with organ filling out several tracks. There’s more boogie in the Sword’s metal too: “Lawless Lands” sounds like a heavy ZZ Top, and “Night City” is a radio-friendly hard-rock anthem. Drummer Trivett Wingo remains the Sword’s secret weapon, thumping out minimalist grooves that combine Thin Lizzy and Motörhead, while the guitarists play sludgy, head-banging riffs and screaming leads. But Warp Riders isn’t retro — it’s an instant classic. —Phil Freeman
Follow us on Twitter: @clescenemusic
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.