Apocryphon (Razor & Tie)
By Mike Delano
The power of the riff compels you! Riff hunters have always been able to rely on The Sword to offer up some righteous, mountain-sized licks, and the Texas crew has delivered on three albums of Sabbath-styled of bluesy rock ‘n’ roll. Apocryphon is no different: The band nestles into a comfy mid-tempo groove from the start with “Veil of Isis” and rarely shifts too far out of gear, slowing things down or speeding them up only as necessary. It makes for a reliable sound, one that’s not gonna ruffle any feathers at your next barbeque. But it probably won’t turn too many heads, either, since the band plays it a little too close to the Sabbath playbook here to really distinguish themselves. Contemporaries like Clutch, with their spaced-out free-form boogie rock, and Electric Wizard, with their psychedelic black masses, have taken the bluesy proto-metal fundamentals into much more interesting territory, taking risks along the way, never afraid to follow their inspiration into bizarre new places. The Sword certainly have the tools for success, so now is the time to stop looking back and start looking ahead to the uncharted path they could blaze if they just ventured a little closer to the edge.