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The Sword - Apocryphon (Razor and Tie Entertainment)

By: Mike Sloan

[8.5/10] It’s safe to say that The Sword has finally spread their wings and is about to take flight. While the Austin, Texas stoners have always been a consistent band that release quality material, they’ve never really hit their collective stride.

Until now.

Stoner metal isn’t my first choice of music and it’s actually the genre that is usually chosen last when opting to jam to something. However, good stoner metal always gets me asking, ‘why don’t I ever listen to more of this’ or, ‘I really should gather more of this band’s albums’ et cetera, et cetera. The Sword fits into this category snugly and it’s a wonder why I don’t play their music more often.

In any event, Apocryphon is one badass album of Black Sabbath-y goodness. Like the best of the genre, The Sword simply let their instruments go and their music just oozes from the speakers like a spilled over water bong. The typical hooks, powerful riffs, easy-to-sing-to lyrics, and dark ambience are abundant on Apocryphon, The Sword’s fourth full-length album.

Fuzzed-out guitars and well-placed drums are the weapons of choice and like Monster Magnet, Fu Manchu, Down, et al, The Sword don’t run out of catchy rhythms or grooves. Per the norm, The Sword never goes overboard with experimentation and they never try to get cute with anything they do. Similar to how Midnight and Gravehill play stripped-down, balls out old school death rock without a care in the world, The Sword simply crank out their version of stoner metal with the best of ‘em.

“Arcane Montane,” “Cloak of Feathers,” “The Hidden Masters” and album highlight “Dying Earth” are all representative of how great this subgenre of metal can be and how it’s often a good idea to break away from the death and black metal assault I usually ingest on an almost daily basis. There’s not a single song on the album that can be misconstrued as filler. This album is loaded with hooks and is easily the best album of the year regarding stoner metal; it’s actually right on the cusp of finding itself in my final top ten albums of the year, though that list will be very tough to crack.

Anybody who likens himself a stoner metal fiend already knows how kickass these dudes are. For those who aren’t stoner metal connoisseurs, like myself, this album should definitely be checked out, it’s that good.

The Sword official site

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