Last year when I got Lords’ initial release on Initial Records in the mail from Punknews, I didn’t know what to expect. I then had my face completely rocked off for the next twelve minutes. I did everything I could to see them live, and I wasn’t disappointed. They have one of the loudest shows I’ve ever seen, with some of the craziest musicianship that doesn’t compromise the overall rock. So when I heard they were releasing a full length, I was properly stoked. A prime example of what I like to think of as the redemption of hardcore and metal, Lords — in my mind — are one of the bands set to save the music industry from becoming mediocre and boring. And let me tell you, Swords doesn’t disappoint.
Blasting through thirteen songs in just under twenty minutes, Swords is a fast, blasting mix of hardcore, punk, and metal without falling into any conventional genre. With crazy stop and go riffs that are all over the place and heavy, intense drums, Lords has created their own distinct sound that apes no one and has yet to be mimicked (probably since they’re such a young band). Time signatures and tempos are thrown around probably just as much as your favorite math-metal band, yet Lords loses nothing from their spectrum of being straightforward rock. Songs are short, ranging from one to two minutes, yet Lords accomplishes so much more in one minute than most bands can in five or six.
The best part of Swords is the growth that is there after the release of The House That Lords Built. No longer is the band afraid to slow down to sludgy metal, and yet they lose none of the momentum they’ve built up. "She Is The Last" takes some from the Melvins’ sludge metal while "Talking Whip" has one of the heaviest breakdowns I’ve ever heard. But just because they’ve embraced slower tempos doesn’t mean they’ve given up on their punk and hardcore heritage.
The album opener, "Stigmata Rites," blazes straight through your ears in one of the most bombastic intros ever. "Slow And Stupid" is anything but. Instead, it’s one of the fastest songs I’ve ever heard that doesn’t rely on the crutch of a double time drum beat. And the rest of the album is just as good.
It’s hard giving an album a ten. It has to be something that will stand the test of time while being inventive and great in all aspects. I fully believe that Swords perfectly encompasses all of these aspects. It’s hard for a band to construct a masterpiece of an album, and to do so in under twenty minutes easily gets my vote for album of the year.