First off, go see this band. You canít really appreciate this record without witnessing firsthand the destruction generated by playing these songs live. Sworn Enemy exists along the same lines as bands like Blood For Blood and Hatebreed, mostly as a throwback to the tough guy hardcore that dominated the scene in the early to mid 90ís. The style itself has worn thin over the last ten years. Iím not sure if this has to do with diminishing quality, a lack of original ideas, or the fact that Iím older than I was back then. Iím 28 and work in an insurance office, so Biohazard lyrics about tattoos and mutual respect donít really relate to my life much anymore. What Sworn Enemy brings to the table is an incredibly brutal sound, strong lyrics, and an obvious metal influence along the same lines as Hatebreed. They make up for a lack of original ideas by playing it straight and unapologetically being a tough guy hardcore band. While the rest of the ďhardcoreĒ scene is on MTV singing like a bunch of bitches, Blood For Blood, and Hatebreed have stuck with what they know and have steadily released some of the best hardcore records of the last five years. Along the same lines as Marduk in the black metal scene over the last ten years, by refusing to change they have refined their sound to its absolute base brutality and brought the music to new levels.
Now Sworn Enemy has joined their ranks by releasing an incredible album that doesnít pretend to be anything more than fucking skull crushing tough guy hardcore. The breakdowns are sick, the vocals are screamed, and the lyrics are all about respect and perserverance and kicking the shit out of people that donít respect you. The hardcore world needs this. Sworn Enemy are not reinventing the wheel but they are fucking good at what they do. The lyrics are typical of this genre and should make a difference to a whole lot of 16 year olds in combat boots and scully caps. Once in a while though they do break out of the stylistic ghetto to which hardcore has confined itself. One song is written from the point of view of Jesus dying for the sins of humanity. Iíd like to see Madball pull that shit off. The song Sworn Enemy is especially brutal, addressing terrorism and street justice in one sick fucking breakdown after another.
Thereís no harmony vocals on this record, no acoustic interludes, no eyeliner, and no songs about women. Sworn Enemy just come in and snap your neck with straight out hardcore for roughly 40 minutes. The vocals are strong in that they are not growled like most bands in this genre. Itís more shrill screaming that takes a while to get used to but is very effective and passionate in delivery. You can tell that this guy is fucking serious and thatís what really matters in this type of music. This is intense, brutal, and well played. If you have good memories of Sheer Terror, Madball, Cutthroat or any of those bands, you canít do much better than this. Sworn Enemy is coming to fucking destroy you. Get ready bitches.* * * * Reviewed: December, 2004