After a short hiatus, SWORN ENEMY returns with their seventh full-length entitled Living on Borrowed Time, which is out now via Rock Ridge Music/ADA. I’m somewhat familiar with this group and have actually seen them on tours in the past, but never really paid much attention to them. With that being said, I don’t have any previous material to compare this album to; I will merely give my opinion and not try to act like an expert on this particular style of music.
“Do or Die” opens the record up with a hard hitting assault of New York style Hardcore. I notice a lot of punk influence here and also included is the first of many ripping guitar solos which I think are the total highlight of this entire release. “Hardway” sounds slightly more Metalcore with all the double bass. I hate these “-core” terms when it comes to subgenres, but it gets the point across; nonetheless it’s a straightforward tune. “Broken Hope” left me feeling like this album was becoming somewhat repetitive, the only saving grace was the amiable guitar solo. The fourth track “Slipping Away” made me feel the same way, and although this one is more punk sounding, I still wasn’t too impressed.
Before you stop reading, I will say that the next few songs grabbed my attention. “No Apologies” shifts the pace to a more straightforward Metal sound with the drummer doing some different patterns to keep it interesting along with a grooving outro! Alright, I’m still listening. “One Eye Open” starts with a clean acoustic guitar under a melodic lead and then proceeds to the chunking. At around the 1:30 mark we hear a riff reminiscent of SLAYER, this one will certainly incite circle pits; I really dig this track. Now, we come to my absolute favorite jam, the unrelenting “No Mercy”; the chorus had me head banging immediately with gang vocals and another grooving riff that is accented perfectly by the drummer. Also another standout ripping guitar solo under a tight rhythm section.
“Never Forget” is a pretty hardcore song with a good breakdown at the end and also includes a great solo, but once again I’m feeling the somewhat repetitiveness that I felt from the first few songs. “Stand and Deliver” most definitely removes this feeling. Opening with an immediate guitar solo into some Hardcore Punk, I’m hooked. The 2:00 break brings the groove with another kick ass solo and the ending of the tune made me write “FUCK YEAH” while I was taking notes so that should speak for itself. The following song “Nothing Changes” is a straight up Hardcore groover with first-class breakdowns and some mean double bass attack; another stand out track. The closing “Rise Above” sums the LP up favorably by including all of the elements heard before with a little more thrash kick.
After many listens, I’ve come to the conclusion that this record is more suitable for the hardcore fans. The musicianship is there, the lead guitar work is outstanding and the thrash and metal influenced sections are what stand out to me; collectively though this album just isn’t for me.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “One Eye Open”, “No Mercy”, “Stand and Deliver”, “Nothing Changes”
WRITTEN BY JOR-EL