The Sword

Used Future (Razor & Tie)

Texas Platters

After a pair of mold-breakers and a live disc, what's next for the Sword? More experimentation? Back to basics? In the case of Austin's onetime metallurgists, both. Sixth album Used Future revs up behind "Deadly Nightshade," an ass-kicking rocker showcasing the local quartet at its bombastic best. Alas, the Sword doesn't stay in its wheelhouse. While "Book of Thoth" and "Twilight Sunrise" stick the same landing, the title track swims in the neo-classic rock waters in which the band has recently waded, now gone tepid. "Nocturne" gamely attempts synthesized prog rock, while "Come and Gone" dissipates on a Southern rock breeze. Like any forward-looking act, the Sword continually leapfrogs out of its comfort zone, but when the results come up wanting, the drawing board comes a-callin'.

**

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