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The Sword - Greetings From... album review

Sci-fi stoner rifflords send out a live transmission

Has it been just 11 years since The Sword released their fantastical debut, Age Of Winters? If it feels like more, you need only take into account the prodigious studio output released by the Austin-based stoner rock crew: five progressively ambitious studio campaigns that document the band’s stylistic evolution from riffy sludgelords to vanguards of retro-experimentalism. Culled from their 2016 autumn tour supporting Opeth, these nine tracks offer a career-spanning sampler that neatly bottles the lightning of their live set, complete with between-song noodling, the clink of bottles and utterly hypnotic synthesiser interludes that underscore The Sword’s fantasy and sci-fi influences. Buzzards and John The Revelator serve up a resinous feast of fat, crunchy riffs, blistering solos and absolutely filthy Texas grooving. Curiously, they’ve omitted Freya – their biggest hit – but you hardly miss it behind bong-sparking belters like Tres Brujas. Clocking in at 42 minutes, the album feels a bit light and as with any live show, the wanton jamming sort of bleeds together. Nonetheless, Greetings From… delivers everything you’d expect in a live album.