Sworn Enemy
Maniacal

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWN. Ho- hum another tough guy hardcore band has discovered Bay Area thrash and solos.

With a lineup shuffle and label change, New York’s Sworn Enemy , after a couple of typical tough guy hardcore releases (As Real As It Gets and The Beginning of the End), have dumped the power chords and breakdowns in favor of a more straight up thrash approach that’s more All Out War than Hatebreed, but its not more convincing.

Is it heavy? Sure? Is it well produced, with chugging churning guitars? Yup. Are the vocals pissed off and layered with gang chants? Uh-Huh. Do the drums rumble with a stern gait? Oh yes. Is it hollow and forgettable as fuck? Indeed.

Just throwing in a few noodly riffs and solos (i.e. “A Place of Solace”, “Weather the Storm”), and squealing grooves (“Fear of Failure”) and having some cantering galloping riffs (“No End to This Nightmare”) amid the seething stomp and flail, does not a thrash album make. And though Sworn Enemy seem to have the effort and energy, the result is largely fruitless and one has to wonder why, other than a contractual obligation from the Abacus Recordings (absorbed by CMR) days what is the need for this release on CMR.

It would be like if a hardcore band simply replaced their hoodie’s, cocked hats, crossed arms and scowls with mullet wigs, skin tight jeans, denim vests and high tops-the look may be different but underneath you are still hardcore guys; Hardcore guys that might want to play thrash, but were much better at their style of mindless hardcore than this forced style shift.

They should go back to ranting about things like the scene, beating guys up, unity, brotherhood and trust (as show on the slightly more hardcore “Talk is Cheap”), etc, as musically and lyrically Maniacal is an epic fail.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 7th, 2008

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