[ALBUM REVIEW] The Sword – Used Future

USED FUTURE TRACKLISTING

1. Prelude
2. Deadly Nightshade
3. Twilight Sunrise
4. The Wild Sky
5. Intermezzo
6. Sea of Green
7. Nocturne
8. Don’t Get Too Comfortable
9. Used Future
10. Come and Gone
11. Book of Thoth
12. Brown Mountain
13. Reprise

 

Reviewed by Casper of Rohan

THE SWORD are set to release their sixth studio album Used Future through Razor and Tie on 23 March 2018.

Now rather than concentrate on the superb lyrics and subject material, I will concentrate in brief on the journey of the band through their recordings to establish a path to Used Future.

Age of Winters was release only three short years after the band was created and consisted in the main, of material for which had been written by John D Cronise prior band formation.  Having familiar material to light their path explains why the band literally hit the ground running.

Gods of the Earth was released only years later but the tracks were being developed immediately following release of the debut so the music ‘flows’ naturally from the first into the second.  Playing live was the style of the recordings and The Sword were certainly achieving notoriety in the right circles to establish their appeal as a live performance, but that is subject for another piece entirely.

The first two albums were produced by JD but for 2010 album Warp Riders the band outsourced that role to Matt Bayles. Probable the most sensible move for a concept album, but this brought the group, perhaps kicking and screaming, into a whole new landscape.  Kyle has some interesting insights here

2012 saw the release of Apocryphon which was raw and furious rage made manifest in song.  Post label change to Razor and Tie after seven  years with Kemado Records and of course the post Trivett Wingo departure, management difficulties all let to a ferocious release of frustration for the group.  Events prior to the albums release did have a silver lining with the appointment of to the band of ‘Jimmy’ Vela III who performed on this recording.

Then came the shocker.  High Country which was a genuine surprise to everyone.  Such a vast step away from their established genre, but a fantastic surprise.  Now producer Adrian Quesada took on this work but it was mixed by J. Robbins, who had produced Apocryphon. That blend seemed to work so well in achieving the style and sound   blend the band were obviously pursuing.

Well here we are in 2018 and now celebrate the release of the sensational collection Used Future.  This album was recorded late last year at Flora Recording & Playback in Oregon where The Sword reveal that their previous style exploration on High Country, is now blended into the groups contemporary signature sound.  For now at very least.

The Sword worked with the widely admired producer and composer Tucker Martine, who proved to be the perfect person to focus the vision and achieve the superb result.

Without providing a track by track analysis, I will simply say that everything the band set out to explore on High Country with their shifting styles and blending, is refined to perfection on Used Future.  So much so that we too can see the fog shift and the vision appear.

At about album mid point, I found Sea of Green a great surprise, but it was also sequenced brilliantly because the style and tempo shift, eases us into the subsequent track Nocture beautifully.  A track that will be snapped up by the first eager movie score developer to cross its path.

And the title track has so much appeal musically and lyrically.  Just superb.  Such a brilliant and quite unique blend of vintage rock and futuristic sound.

I am pleased to report that Brown Mountain is no reference to bathroom breaks during recording, being an instrumental, I figure it was JD’s brown mountain if anyone’s.  But, thankfully no.

Reprise follows along the same lines as its predecessor and I can’t help but presume that this could be a hint of the groups future direction.  Who could possibly blame them, because its not every day you find a unique sound blend, let alone a pot of gold.  But this is The Sword…who knows what brilliance the band will create next.

You can pre-Order Used Future on itunes here:  https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/used-future/1336673734