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The Sword – Apocryphon

Razor & Tie 2012
The Sword - Apocryphon

The Sword‘s debut bow for Razor & Tie finds their gaze fixated on the bigger picture. An expectedly ripe breeding ground for the bluesy crunch of Black Sabbath and the layered melodies of Thin Lizzy; “Apocryphon” also boasts lyrical content akin to the smoke exhaled from “Heavy Metal” magazine and a Dungeons & Dragons monster manual sharing a hookah.

The thing about The Sword these days is that they’ve graduated from leading the charge to commanding the battle from afar. Thus their songwriting has progressively expanded to a wider lens. “Apocryphon” finds itself characteristically energetic, chockfull of gnashing riffs and hearty one-upmanship. But while the songs boast flurries of riffs and trenchant grooves, their heart is set on maintaining momentum.

In writing as the proverbial overseer the band have cut loose the scrappy energy and crunchy fervor that was the lifeblood of their earlier efforts. The larger hooks and more traditional songwriting leave ample room for knotted guitars; yet their limited time in the spotlight can see it all feeling superfluous. It’s still business as usual in terms of tone and style though as their adoption of fuzzed out distortion and expert mining of mid-70′s metal, prog and southern boogie continues on unabated.

Where “Apocryphon” falls short is that it sounds more like a collection of songs celebrating the battle rather than songs written from the heat of it. That is to say, an embellished version of the bands former selves.

A glorified caricature that delivers the broad strokes while glossing over past intimacy. The clean production is a nice touch though and there’s a lot to appreciate in the seemingly endless assault of searing riffs and smoked out bliss.

The whirring dirge of “Arcane Montane“—with its accentuated ringing bells and lively guitar work—is an immediate highlight. The obtuse synth that opens the albums title track is also likely to catch more than a few listeners off guard. Shifting their focus back to earthen affairs following the spacefaring “Warp Riders” is a welcome change of pace. It’s just that after traveling the cosmos The Sword have returned to terra firma perhaps a touch too celestial-minded.

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    ( 36 votes, 4.44 stars )
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COMMENTS

9
    • avatar

    • I knew it would be a challenege for them to out-do “Warp Riders”, as it’s their best effort to date. But instead of trying to top it they took the album to a completely different level with slower, heavier songs, cutting out their traditional instrumental tracks and keeping it straight up meat and potatoes. While “Apocryphon” isnt their best but the album, it’s fucking killer as expected. I got to see em play some of the new shit at a piece of shit hole in the wall a week ago in Denton and, as usual, I left with no voice and my mind blown. See you dudes December 17th at Trees.

      4.5 stars for Apocryphon

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    • rhinoitaliano74     November 5, 2012 at 8:55 pm

      Album is fuckin amazing, I love everything they’ve done. Would love to see The Sword, Graveyard, & Witchcraft in the same night, that would be fuckin epic…\m/

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    • My Farts Linger     November 9, 2012 at 7:09 pm

      I really enjoy listening to The Sword. To me, their best album is undoubtedly ‘Warp Riders, followed by ‘Age Of Winters’ and finally, ‘ Gods of The Earth’.

      I haven’t yet decided on whether ‘Apocryphon’ is ahead of, or behind ‘GOTE.’
      I really enjoy ‘Apocryphon’, but it doesn’t have me nearly as pumped up as ‘WR’ did.

      We’ll see as time goes on; but for now, ‘Apocryphon’ will probably end up fitting snugly between ‘AOW’ and ‘GOTE’.

      I’m going to smoke more cannabis now.

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    • I gotta be honest, i haven’t really checked these guys out other than jammin to Freya on Guitar Hero 2. I listened to a track or two from this on youtube and made an immediate purchase. I have not checked the back catalog yet to compare (but im thinking i probably will), but this album absolutely kills! Cloak of Feathers has to be one of the best songs i’ve heard in years, i cannot get enough of this. 4.5 of 5 from me, perfection is a hard thing to attain.

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