Austin, Texas’ “warp riders”, The Sword, are back at it again with their latest release, Apocryphon, and with a new album from The Sword, you know that a lot of criticism will follow. Their peers find them to be derivative and question their motivation. Detractors question their skills and motivation as well. Through all of this negativity, the band continues to produce and to continues to rise. Gods of the Earth landed on the US Billboard 200 chart and little metal band by the name of Metallica brought The Sword on the road on their European Vacation Tour in 2008.
With all of the above criticism, the only that I have found to be true was that the band lacked a true voice of its own. You will always get the comparisons to the mighty Black Sabbath, but so will over half of the metal bands in existence. The began to distinguish themselves a bit with 2010’s Warp Riders, but with Apocryphon, they are truly beginning to break away from the niche that they were cast into.
Apocryphon is the band’s fourth full-length release and has all of the tools to be their finest effort to date. As expected, the band does not venture far from the sound they had in Warp Riders and it is one of the main strengths of the album. Instead of continuing their migration away from the sludge sound, they strength their songwriting skills. Each track is its own beast with grooves and hooks that make each song distinguish itself from the previous while adding depth to The Sword’s overall sound.
Overall, The Sword’s Apocryphon is bound to please fans of most metal genres and even hard rock fans and helps to distinguish the band from the rest of the stoner rock genre.
Apocryphon Track Listing:
1. The Veil of Isis
2. Cloak of Feathers
3. Arcane Montane
4. The Hidden Masters
5. Dying Earth
7. Seven Sisters
8. Hawks and Serpents
9. Eyes of the Stormwitch
Record Company – Razor & Tie Recordings, LLC
Manufactured By – Razor & Tie Direct, LLC
Recorded At – The Magpie Cage, Baltimore, MD
Mastered At – Sterling Sound
Engineer – J. Robbins
Mastered By – Greg Calbi
Mixed By – J. Robbins
Producer – J. Robbins, Sword, The
The Sword Line-up:
John “J. D.” Cronise – vocals, guitar
Kyle Shutt – guitar
Bryan Richie – bass, synthesizers
Santiago “Jimmy” Vela III – drums, percussion