Every culture has its own set of cryptic texts.
They're the forbidden tomes of wisdom which governing powers will deny knowledge of and ban. They're usually thought-provoking. They're typically dangerous. They're often revolutionary. It might seem impossible to keep anything private in the modern age of Facebook and Twitter where everyone's dirty laundry is up for a comment. Nevertheless, the most impactful art remains the most mysterious.
Apocryphon, which literally translates to "secret writing", is the perfect moniker for THE SWORD's fourth full-length album and first for Razor & Tie. Wrapping poetic and poignant imagery in a haze of crushing riffs and ethereal melodies, the Austin, TX quartet delivers haunting, hypnotic, and heavy rock. The group—John D. Cronise [Vocals, Guitar], Kyle Shutt [Guitar], Bryan Richie [Bass], and Santiago “Jimmy” Vela III [Drums]—is about to let the world in on a little secret…
Coming off 2010's acclaimed concept album Warp Riders, THE SWORD approached their latest offering from a new perspective. Instead of recording in Austin, they holed up in Baltimore with producer J. Robbins [Clutch, Jawbox] for five weeks to craft Apocryphon in the summer of 2012.
Sonically, Robbins encouraged THE SWORD to tap into something raw. As a result, the album echoes with insurmountable intensity. "We loved what he did with Clutch, and they highly recommended him," recalls Shutt. "He really helped us capture the dirty, grittiness in the songs. It was there, but he knew what we wanted, what we were going for, and how to communicate it."
THE SWORD consistently give their audience a fully realized experience. They began turning heads with Age of Winters in 2006 and its 2008 follow-up God of the Earth. Metallica hand-picked them for a worldwide tour, and they've shared the stage with everyone from Motorhead to Ozzy Osbourne. Their music has been prominently utilized in films such as Jennifer's Body and Jonas Åkerlund’s Horsemen as well as the best-selling video game Guitar Hero: Metallica. Meanwhile, in 2010, Warp Riders reached #42 on the Billboard Top 200. They've also received widespread critical acclaim from the likes of Rolling Stone, Outburn, The Washington Post, and more. 2012 saw them ink their deal with Razor & Tie, and a whole new chapter has begun.
Ultimately, THE SWORD will continue to reveal what other artists won't. "To some degree, it's always been about escapism," concludes Cronise. "Music is supposed to transport people somewhere away from their daily lives. For Apocryphon, the idea was to do that in a more introspective and philosophical manner. I'd like it if listeners think a little bit more about life, their existence, and their place in the universe while taking this trip."
That's one secret truly worth sharing.