Staff Rating

2.00/5

User Rating

2/5

Sworn Enemy - Living On Borrowed Time

Shostakovich   (109 reviews)

Posted: 04/30/2014 | Comments: 0 | Rate:

Sworn Enemy, if you can really call them that anymore, returns after a long absence with Living On Borrowed Time. To be perfectly honest, I typed out that sentence and sat for about 20 minutes trying to think of anything to add to that. Anything at all. It was tough.

Aside from vocalist Sal LoCoco, Sworn Enemy's membership has completely turned over 3 or 4 times in their history, and with each change came a slight refocusing of their sound. Over the course of their past 4 albums, the band progressed from a bottom heavy New York hardcore band to a fairly generic metalcore band, bolstered only by their history and Sal's famous vocals. To my ears, the band hasn't released anything noteworthy and unique in over a decade, and unfortunately even with yet another new lineup, little has changed here.

More than on some previous records, the band shoots for a good deal of power chord punk riffs to keep their hardcore roots alive, but that is about the only thing I can say piqued any of my interest. There is an underlying Madball flavor to a lot of the tracks, which honestly isn't a bad thing. The intros to each song are often the only memorable parts, and each one slowly descends into verse/chorus/verse banality. Even after a couple listens, I could not tell you how any of the songs or even riffs go. Paint by numbers. Among all the songs, I must say "Rise Above" is the best.

Possibly making it the din worse here is the second rate production and mixing. The overall music is mixed relatively quiet, all vocals are slightly buried under the guitars, and a lot of the solos are mixed high and thusly sound tacked on. This could pass as a demo, but as a full length release, I can't say I'm impressed in any way with how it sounds.

None of this record is terrible, really, just rather lifeless, repetitive, and unrelated in almost any way to the records that made Sworn Enemy a household name in hardcore circles. With each year, and with dozens and dozens of bands appearing on the horizon of the hardcore and metal scenes every day, Sworn Enemy gets buried more and more under bands who stand out much more than them. Hopefully this will change in the future, but not today.

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