F U L L . R E V I E W S
SWORN ENEMY have returned with thier third studio album, Maniacal. Sworn Enemy had a couple of lineup changes since 2006's The Beginning Of The End. Bassist Sid Caballero and drummer Jared Buckwalter are new to the band, although As I Lay Dying's Jordan Mancino played drums on the CD.
From the get-go, Maniacal goes for the throat with the punk-infused "Ignorance" kicking things off. "A Place of Solace" employs some head-whipping beatdowns, "Weather the Storm" takes about 80 cues from Slayer but is still a grueling track, while "The American Way" and "No End to This Nightmare" are thrashy, manic tunes that seamlessly blend metal and the 'core.
Maniacal continues Sworn Enemy's evolution from a hardcore/metalcore band to a thrash band. Their third full length, once again produced by Tim Lambesis (As I Lay Dying), is jam packed with dual guitar thrash riffs and solos from Lorenzo Antonucci and Jamin Hunt. The band still holds on to their roots with plenty of hardcore energy and numerous breakdowns.
Maniacal is direct and to the point with the 10 songs clocking it at just over 30 minutes. It's Sworn Enemy's most technical album so far and their best musicianship. Ripping and driving compositions make it hard not to get carried away when listening to "Maniacal", the drive the guitars deliver are enormous and very captivating and delivered great. The drumming is insane as well, of course fast paced and varied, and it lays a good backbone for the rest of the music. The icing on the cake is the harsh and brutal vocals delivered by Sal LoCoco, a heartfelt and passionate effort, which adds the last piece to the puzzle.
The album is at its high point when the band is playing fast and furious thrash metal. Once the band slows down a bit, the flaws seep out more clearly. Thankfully, Sworn Enemy doesn't slow down the pace too much, so you won't be too disappointed. Maniacal is another solid album for Sworn Enemy and should get them some recognition in the metal community. When Sworn Enemy shows off their thrash influences, the band is on fire, evoking feelings of classic heavy metal/thrash acts like Slayer, Anthrax, Testament, and Exodus. Maniacal is a great slab of thrash/hardcore that mixes the two genres almost perfectly.
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