THE SWORD is known for doom, leaning much more toward seventies hard rock aesthetics than traditional heavy metal. The band hasn’t necessarily played it safe by remaining on such a clear trajectory four albums strong. The group has, though, forged a clear path to which its fanbase has been accustomed. With “High Country”, however, the Austin, Texas-based act sticks its neck out by scaling back the crunch. This time around it has chosen to fully embrace its penchant for seventies-styled music more than ever before. The band also further explores its psychedelic curiosity which has been an undercurrent reaching across the bulk of its back catalogue. “High Country” is at times challenging and intriguing, though for the most part it’s plodding and meandering. Each member is clearly a skilled musician. So, even at its worst, “High Country” isn’t a snooze-fest per se; it’s simply uninspiring.