The Sword, 'Warp Riders' (Kemado)

Critical Mass
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by Kenny Herzog

These metal loyalists' third monolith is steeped in hokey, dystopian sci-fi, but Warp Riders' interplanetary narrative possesses a charming conviction. It's also somewhat at odds with the band's emerging fixation on boogie rock, a genre typified by adolescent wish fulfillment (i.e., songs about fucking). But alongside the Sword's bulldozing first two albums, go-for-broke riffers "Lawlands" and the title track boast more intriguing dynamics. And apart from cheesy glam misstep "Night City," they creatively fuse ZZ Top and Nazareth rhythms with Hawkwind prog, sounding both badass and oddly innovative.

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