The Sword Abandoned Source Material to Write 'Psychedelic Space Opera'
Jay West, WireImage
Sounds like an apt description of 'Warp Riders.' Like its predecessors, 2006's 'Age of Winters' and 2008's 'Gods of the Earth,' 'Warp Riders' is a concept album. Unlike the Austin, Texas, band's first two records -- which mined Norse mythology and science fiction -- these songs tell a story that sprung fully from the imagination of singer and guitarist J.D. Cronise.
"He was tired of writing the doom-and-gloom knights and wizards and sorcerers stuff," Richie says. "He wanted to take it somewhere else. Lyrically, at least, we had covered all that ground. He wanted to get some new lyrical fodder, and that meant creating this whole kind of world, and then writing songs based on that."
Music came first, with Cronise or guitarist Kyle Shutt bringing riffs, or occasionally full songs, to Richie and drummer Trivett Wingo, who added their own touches. The musical arrangements were mostly fleshed out before the other band members heard many of the lyrics.
"Then we got the story and it was like, 'Whoa, dude! I knew you were deep, but man, I had no idea you were capable of writing an awesome story like that,'" Richie says.
The band has described the album as a "psychedelic space opera" that largely takes place on a planet whose tides have locked it in place, exposing one side to perpetual day and the other to perpetual night. Action ensues, abetted by galloping guitar riffs and mammoth drums.
"J.D. spent a lot of time making sure that was right: that the lyrics for that particular song works with the riffs, and they are things that accentuate the story even though they aren't words," Richie says. "The music creates an atmosphere for the lyrics, and I think he really picked well."
'Warp Riders' is out now on Kemado.