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Rising - Sword and Scythe

Format: Download
Released: 2018
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 7.5/10

In one word: impressive. “Sword and Scythe” is the sometimes-great, sometimes-good, sometimes bland 4th full-length from Danish Epic Melodic Traditional occasionally Thrashy Metal Quintet, Rising. It’s described as a concept album, but the storyline is bit oblique for general audiences (including me) or casual listeners. What I do grasp of the concept is heady, cool, epic-scale stuff, spanning eons of human history.


Superstrong start to the album with the frenetic FX noise of opening intro “Amor Fati,” leading into the best song on the record, “Empirical,” which is a marvel to behold - - with a knockout chorus. “Hunger and Exile” comes next, and isn’t *this* good, but it keeps the momentum rolling. After some mixed results, that high bar is rediscovered in the unignorable chord play of “Salted Earth,” which shows up during the latter part of the record. Another song that deserves a shoutout is “Sea of Irrelevance,” primarily for its driving Hetfield-esque rhythm guitar chug and its nasty Skolnick-esque solo.
The Rising road through time is uneven, for sure - - but there are some delightful stops along the way, none better than “Empirical.” That song, more than the rest, will find regular rotation in my playlists.
Note: this band is in no way related to Bruce Springsteen, his album, "The Rising," or the Springsteen tribute band of the same name.

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