Release Date: Oct 22, 2012
Record label: Razor & Tie
After conquering the realms of fantasy and science fiction, classic metal revivalists the Sword head into a more metaphysical space on their fourth album, Apocryphon. Though they return to the looser, more groove-heavy sound of their earlier work, the spacy influence of Warp Riders can still be felt here and there, with songs like "Execrator" bringing occasional flourishes of psychedelic, effects-drenched guitar work. All over the album it feels as though the Sword are bringing together everything they've learned from their other records, and with its combination of ambition, heaviness, and swagger, titular album-closer "Apocryphon" feels like a one-song "best-of", bringing everything the band has done before it together into a singular epic metal journey.
The guys that comprise Austin, Texas’ warp riders’, The Sword, have journeyed over criticism during their six year existence despite their notable success. Guitarist/vocalist J.D. Cronise (who founded the band and wrote all the music for their debut, Age of Winters), guitarist Kyle Shutt and bassist Bryan Richie have had to shield themselves from detractors who questioned their true motivations: accusations of being indie hipsters playing heavy riffs just for the sake of being ironic were bandied around, especially when the band played trendy festivals such as South By Southwest and allowed “Freya” to be included on an early installment of the video game series, “Guitar Hero”.
There is a 99.99999999% chance that the world won’t end on December 21st. But one thing’s for sure: The apocalypse makes for killer heavy metal lyrics. The heavens rain, the oceans flail; the continents crack, splinter, and split. Amidst this horror stands a metal band: The Sword. They released ….
Winning choruses chiselled in stone, crafted with love and authority. Alex Deller 2012 For a time there, The Sword seemed poised to conquer the universe. They nabbed a Guitar Hero spot, toured with the planet’s biggest metal band, Metallica, and appeared to be blazing a meteoric trajectory that only a vengeful god could stop. Then 2010’s Warp Riders came and went: a somewhat unsatisfying, sci-fi-indebted epic that adopted a rather ill-fitting hard rock aesthetic.
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," claimed Ralph Waldo Emerson, but in heavy metal, hobgoblins constitute a good thing. Apocryphon rolls out disc No. 4 in Austin metal torchbearer the Sword's winning streak, and it's precisely what we've come to expect from the unrepentant headbangers. Still the poster child for Seventies values (Black Sabbath), the local quartet cranks out bludgeoning rhythms, catchy riffs, and arty, fantasy lyrics from the same well of inspiration it drew on for LPs one through three.