The Sword - Used Future - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Sword - Used Future

by Nathan Fidler Rating:5 Release Date:2018-03-23
The Sword - Used Future
The Sword - Used Future

With six albums already behind them, The Sword head into the seventh effort, Used Future, with mixed expectations on them. Outwardly looking like a band yearning for the heyday of heavy rock from the 70s, there is more to them than meets the eye.

Their previous album, High Country, seemed to pleasantly surprise most people, and the release of an acoustic album to accompany it - Low Country - only added to what was an already accomplished effort.

In trying to maintain a science-fiction and fantasy core to their lyrics, this album gets under way with ‘Deadly Nightshade’ and then ‘Twilight Sunrise’, depicting both sides of that coin. What doesn’t help is the lack of inventiveness on the former track; the riff feels static and the lyrics are never quite as cutting as the more sci-fi-centric efforts.

There is plenty of musical ambling on this record, possibly in an attempt to capture some of the success of the last album, but tracks like ‘Nocturn’ and ‘The Wild Sky’ feel like tacky attempts to capture some kind of atmosphere - ultimately it ends up sounding like background music for a 90s children’s drama. In fact, there is far too much instrumentally dull work on this album, which is partly why it’s so hard to listen to it in full.

‘Don’t Get Too Comfortable’ has a squeaky riff, and ‘Sea of Green’ goes from a shimmering opening to the usual toe-tapping riff, but it never feels right. It’s hard to say whether it’s a lack of novel ideas, a lack of ambition or simply a misplaced sense that their previous acclaim will carry them.

‘Used Future’ gives a glimpse into what could have been achieved if they’d gone full ham and owned the idea of describing a “world of tomorrow” which has become derelict. Meanwhile ‘Brown Mountain’ flexes a more purposeful sense of a climactic instrumental, building character in choral aches and some simple pull-offs on the frets.

For a great big, epic science fiction rock record, check out Warp Riders by this lot instead, and then hope that this is just a momentary lapse of concentration.

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