By Al Kaufman
There’s something about metal and fantasy. Gods, Norsemen, and epic battles seem to be the perfect stories to tell in front of crunching guitars.
J.D. Cronise, lead guitarist and vocalist for The Sword, first fell in love with the whole idea when he listened to Queensryche’s concept album, Operation: Mindcrime, as a boy. With Warp Riders, he has created his own. The story takes place on the planet Acheron, in which the archer, Ereth, is banished from his tribe. What follows is an epic (there’s that word again) battle of good versus evil, during which Ereth meets more than his share of witches, warriors, and just weird creatures.
The beauty of this is just how seriously it is taken. With the exception of “Tres Brujas,” which spends too much time laying out the story to get going, this is pure adrenaline. Drums pound, guitars sear. Cronise and Kyle Shutt have some nice dueling axe moments. And Cronise does a pretty good job of sounding like an early Ozzy Osbourne, especially on the title track. “The Chromancer II: Nemesis” offers ample opportunity for violent head bobbing. Pure, unadulterated passion drips from this thing like sweat.
For fans who wondered whatever happened to Iron Maiden and the like, The Sword should more than fill that void.
This show has been canceled!