The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
The-Sword-High-Country-Review-2015

THE SWORD - HIGH COUNTRY - ALBUM REVIEW

Razor and Tie | Release Date: August 21 2015

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‘Unicorn Farm’ sees the Sword, yes The Sword seemingly move into electronica, thankfully it’s a fleeting glimpse before the familiar boogie-fuelled chug of the rather light ‘Empty Temples’ glides on through, like Rush had boogie and were covering seventies singer-songwriter territory. It’s a great song, just rather surprising from a band like The Sword who seems to have taken on a folkier, earthier, more organic tone this time round without losing their power to captivate the listener.


The Native American flavoured title track and the reflective ‘Tears like Diamonds’ continue to push what you might thing the Sword are all about, it’s more like seventies-styled rock-fuelled roots music with tinges of folk and americana (small ‘a’ so not to scare you or overstate it) than Metal, but it’s also music that really resonates and makes you wonder if this would be what ‘Band of Horses’ would sound like if they loved their Metal.


‘Mist and Shadow’ has a bolder groove and lighter touch and seeps progressively towards a sweet release before the build of ‘Agartha’ simmers into ‘Seriously Mysterious’.


It’s on ‘Suffer no Fools’ where we seriously pick up the pace but sadly it’s an instrumental foray that as such lacks a little bite, the vocals withheld you feel as then it would have sounded too much like the ‘old’ Sword. But it is a great lead into probably the best song here: ‘Early Snow’ which has a Sabbath-like quality and employs horns to great effect underlining the dark groove. It’s the sort of song that makes you immediately press play again.


The rest of the album is equally engaging with the classically-moulded ‘The Dreamthieves’ taking us on an almost BOC-like ride. It’s great soulful proto-Metal that seeps through the album mixing with notes of bands like Cream, Hawkwind and their more expansive 70’s cousins.
And whilst tracks like ‘Buzzards’ look over their shoulder its cuts like ‘Silver Petals’ that jar you in a good way – coming over all Neil Young in its picked acoustic instrumental simplicity before ‘Ghost Eye’ first bludgeons then smothers you in clouds that thicken up on contact.


Closing pair ‘Dust’ and ‘The Bees of Spring’ almost summarise the story of the album, the former detuned and mournfully light and the latter riding an ancient simple groove to bring the seventies vibe home strong as it rambles into a Cream-like Blues witha Door-like twist.


Inspired and inspiring.   

 

 

by Mark Rockpit

 

 


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