The Sword – High Country


The soundtrack to the journey through time and space…

Review by Dan Perks

Razor & Tie

Release date: 21 August 2015

I love albums that feel like a story, a musical journey through memories, emotions, dreams, history and other aspects of life. High Country, the fifth album from American hard rock hero’s The Sword, is a genre-spanning road trip through prog rock, stoner metal, 70’s psychedelic rock and even some slight resemblances to English alt rock acts such as Kasabian. This album is a stunning collection of trippy synths, massive riffs and catchy vocals. Every song feels like a journey, a saga sprawling out in front you like a winding road you’re destined to wander down.

The album opens with a short synth and electronic heavy intro titled ‘Unicorn Farm’, a wave of distorted bass and synths sound like you hit 88mph in a Dolorian and jumped through time. The thing is, this isn’t the destination. This is the soundtrack to the journey through time and space. It never lands in any one particular time period; it merely pulls elements from different eras in musical history.

Once the intro fizzles out and your initial launch is complete the album then changes into gear and drives forward with ‘Empty Temples’, ‘High Country’ and ‘Tears Like Diamonds’. Under layer and layer of guitar riffs and harmonies the drums tick over like the engine of a car thundering along relentlessly on this bizarre journey. Just under half way through the album you are greeted by ‘Agartha’, a two and a half minute track that could easily be the alternate intro music to an 80’s sci-fi programme.

Throughout the rest of the album, there are so many huge riffs, stupidly catchy grooves and hooks and more trippy effects than a weekend with Albert Hoffman wearing a tie-dye t-shirt. There are some touches of glam rock in there hiding in the guitars, as well as stoner rock, doom metal and pretty much any genre you can think of. Ok, so it’s a mix of lots of genres and it’s pretty trippy but is it any good? Well, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to High Country over and over, picking up on something new every time I played it. It’s so well written, well produced and so mind-blowingly beautiful in places that it is becoming one of my favourite albums of the year so far. So yes, it’s good. Really bloody good. Go and buy it. Now.

The Sword – HighCountry20159 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Unicorn Farm
  2. Empty Temples
  3. High Country
  4. Tears Like Diamonds
  5. Agartha
  6. Seriously Mysterious
  7. Suffer No Fools
  8. Early Snow
  9. The Dreamthieves
  10. Buzzards
  11. Silver Petals
  12. Ghost Eye
  13. Dust
  14. The Bees Of Spring