It is no secret that Immolation is maybe the only of the great death metal bands of the past that keeps on releasing extraordinary great albums, especially compared to other pioneers that started alongside the New Yorkers (or even before them).
From Austin Texas, The Sword released their fourth album titled “Apocryphon” continuing the legacy of three previous great albums. With a sound somewhere between “stoner doom” and “heavy doom”, they have make a step forward during Metallica‘s “Death Magnetic” tour in wich they had the first part.
Like Witchcraft, musically based in the 70’s but more by the side of Black Sabbath and the first era of Heavy Metal. The first track “Veil of Isis” is the undoubting proof. Heavy powerful riffs, the bass present at all times and the drums are grooving all the way. It’s noticeable that the quartet contrary to their previous albums doesn’t start with a mixing rhythm but more with the power of the riffs. Same with the second track “Clock of Feathers” still dragging the waters. The influence of Black Sabbath is present in every note of “Apocryphon” like in the main riff of “Veil of Isis”, the chorus of “Clock of Feather”, “Execrator” or even the bridge of “Arcane Montane” or the same-titled “Apocryphon”. J.D. Cronise‘s vocals show also a lot of similarities with the madman, especially in high notes.
Although the majority of the tracks are mid tempo as any other “rock” of this period, The Sword also succeed in slower tracks like “Hidden Masters” whith a “doom” almost blues atmosphere, or in the breaks of “Clock of Feathers”
They also manage to open up they horizons using vintage keyboards (“Execrator”), Sample noises (“Dying Earth“) and electro sounds (“Apocryphon”). The production of Jonas Robbins succeed also in combining vintage with modern fitting exactly to the purpose.
The minus is the feeling of already heard. The Sword clearly are paying some kind of tribute to Sabbath like their previous albums too. Vocals are very close and guitar riffs have all the Iommi feeling. They seem trapped in the period “Paranoid-Sabotage“. After four albums it seems that they are stuck in a nostalgia. Also the “surprises” have completely gone making the continuation of the album very linear.
“Apocryphon” in general is a very respectful album, with the original spirit of the 70’s, heavy massive riffs, an excellent production but…you can’t take the place of the king. They are not the only band trying to do so like the others they won’t make any progress if they remain stuck in the past.
|Track List||Line Up||01. The Veil Of Isis
02. Cloak Of Feathers
03. Arcane Montane
04. The Hidden Masters
05. Dying Earth
07. Seven Sisters
08. Hawks & Serpents
09. Eye Of The Stormwitch
|J.D. Cronise: vocals, guitar
Kyle Shutt: guitar
Bryan Richie: Bass, synth
Santiago “Jimmy” Vela III: drums