Austin, Texas based metal band The Sword have certainly matured on their 4th studio album Apocryphon. Even though they have penned some of their heaviest riffs to date there is a more melodic approach to some of the songs. The word Apocryphon comes from the Greek word apocrypha meaning “hidden teachings” or “hidden meanings” referring to books that were discarded from the Bible.
The Sword, formed in 2003 are a 4 piece band with 3 of the current members existing from the original line up, drummer Jimmy Vela replacing the long standing Trivett Wingo in October 2011. Apocryphon was released on Nov.2nd 2012 via Napalm Records. A European tour kicks off with 5 UK dates on Jan.6th 2013 in Wolverhampton then moving onto Glasgow, Manchester, Bristol and London.
Of the 10 riff heavy tracks at a running time of just over 45 minutes, pick of the bunch are album opener Veil Of Isis, it’s jagged twin riff intro heads into the 1st Black Sabbath groove in Apocrypha, broken up halfway through by some twin guitar harmonies as crashing riffs bring it to a close. Cloak Of Feathers could be renamed Cloak Of Sledgehammers owing to hard hitting drums over fuzzed up doomy riffs. The strangely titled Arcane Montane is a bit of a melodic stoner but the main riff is hammered throughout.
The Hidden Masters has a noodling Kyuss style intro which is taken over by heavy guitars with vocalist John D. Cronise singing with an Ozzy Osbourne like timbre. The short, sharp track Execrator is a drum driven Godzilla like stomp over a fizzing guitar riff. Hawks And Serpents marching abrasive riff is mellowed out by fluid, twin guitar solos at the 3 minute mark. Eyes Of The Storm is a laid back hard rocking number bolstered by another imposing performance by drummer Jimmy Vela. The title track closes the album and The Sword have saved their heaviest riff to finish on as it hurtles along at a Children Of The Grave tempo. A sure fire headbangers delight!
The Sword band line up :-
John D. Cronise – Vocals/guitar.
Kyle Shutt – Guitar.
Bryan Richie – Bass.
Jimmy Vela – Drums.
Apocryphon album track listing :-
Veil Of Isis.
Cloak Of Feathers.
The Hidden Masters.
Hawks And Serpents.
Eyes Of The Stormwitch.
I award Apocryphon 9.5/10.