The Sword Aprocryphon 10th Anniversary Limited Release Vinyl

The Sword Aprocryphon 10th Anniversary Limited Release Album is scrutinized in this review by Douglas Moore!

When I was a youngster in the 80s bands like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple always enthused me with their lyrics and musicianship. For one thing, their lyrics were about real-life events or something that affected them unlike glam rock bands that simply wrote about drinking, doing drugs, or how many girls they could get! Being more interested in the sound and the instruments, I felt closer to the Blacks Sabbath or Bad Company’s of the world. Bands like these with their power chord-driven melodies and hard-driving guitar solos were closer to what I thought hard rock music was supposed to be.

The Sword was conceived in 2003 in Austin, Texas. This band consisted of vocalist J.D. Cronise, guitarist Kyle Shutt, bassist Bryan Ritchie, while drummer Trivett Wingo was later replaced by Santiago “Jimmy” Vela III before the recording of Apocryphon.

Being that they were from Austin they made an appearance at the South By Southwest Festival and their music path was sealed. Being the type of band they are every album in their discography has a different sound and many different influences while still being unapologetically themselves. Taking influences from bands Like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and many others they crafted their sound individually for each album. I tend to like artists that aren’t afraid to try new things and get their hands dirty on new styles. The Sword exemplifies this and listening through each album will give you a very different musical experience.

While All of The Swords albums are good and cater to different hard rock tastes, one of my all-time favorites is Apocryphon. This album was originally released in 2012 but with the announcement in 2022 of the band ending they decided to release a special 10th-anniversary edition of what is arguably, their best album.

Apocryphon is an recording that when first released found many fans for its full, live sound. This was different from earlier recordings by the band that focused more on technical playing. This album has an in your face feel that I like. The music is laid out in a straightforward manner that allows you to feel the story. The lyrics and vocals on this album have their roots in folklore and fantasy.

The LP itself is well put together with a good-quality pressing having been released by Craft Recordings which I have personally had great luck with. This record company seems to pay a little more attention to audio quality than the run-of-the-mill records pressed today. If you go to any record forums online you will quickly hear from the multitudes of people that many of today’s records aren’t pressed very well. Not sure why this is except that they are more interested to get out a quick product to make money while not caring about quality.

The music in this album is good from start to finish. I am not going to name any one track as they are all great and I must say the best way to listen to this album is to put the needle down and just let it rip! The story speaks for itself and you will quickly be pulled into the world of Apocryphon. The music is big, and brash, and allows me to be taken away in a classic hard rock fashion that is hard to find today. I have tried many times to listen to parts of the album or just certain songs only to return to listening to the album from start to finish.

SOUND QUALITY:

As stated earlier the sound of the album is huge, bold, and live sounding. Not many records today that are done in a studio have a feeling of “live” recordings and takes. This album is not like that. It does the “you are there” magic trick better than most–especially in the hard rock category.

Great bass and midrange detail allows the bass and guitar room acoustic to sound as big as it should. The drums are dynamic and exhaustive with fine image and sound staging. Vocals are presented precisely and image depth is right on for the sound. I have both the 16-bit/44.1KHz digital and the LP versions of this album and both sound very good. I might even give an edge to the vinyl version as it seems to fit the type of quality sound The Sword is going for with this presentation. While you are not going to get the quality of a more technically worked studio album that some people seem to like, Apocryphon gives you the artist and their intentions no more or less. I kind of like this approach and think it should be utilized more in today’s music.

FINAL THOUGHT

I have spent many nights listening to rock/pop albums over the past year and I have quite a few that are my go-to albums when I want a more aggressive listen. The Sword Apocryphon sits very high on that list. If you have a resolving system that can show off fine dynamics, and true-to-life scaling, and are a fan of hard rock and old-school doom metal then you owe it to yourself to check out Apocryphon!

WHERE the MUSIC BEAT meets the AUDIOPHILE ELITE !

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