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Sworn Enemy - Gamechanger

Label: M-Theory Audio
Format: Download
Released: 2019
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 7.5/10

Good Thrash with Hardcore tendencies, direct descendants of the legendary NYHC scene. Sworn Enemy have been at it for over twenty years, so they’re participants and influencers, as opposed to newcomers. Their sound is pissed off, raw-knuckled, and ready to fight, like the guys hanging out in front of 7-11.


If salty language is a turn-off for you, then - - well, first of all, good luck coping with the world - - but you’ll also have a hard time getting through this record. Just about every song would get bleeped, if played on a terrestrial radio station. Small worry there, though. This is way too Thrashy and Metal for anything outside of the college, fringe, and A.M. dial.
I found the “Back the fuck up!” opening a bit off-putting, like walking up to 7-11 and getting harassed by the dudes sitting in front on the hoods of their cars. But if you stop to hang out with the guys and have a beer, you find that they’re a little intense and immature, but actually pretty fun, and you have a good time with them.
The guitar tone is crunchy and excellent. The lead vocals are on Hardcore end, but still fit in the Thrash realm, especially when you factor in the excellent Biohazard-style backing vocals. The riffs are almost exclusively muted E-string power chords, but there are a few good single-note ones too. Each of the songs are built around the pit, with build-ups to the tempo-drop Mosh parts, and Dan Spitz (former Anthrax)-reminiscent guitar solos. The one exception is the opening to “Coming Undone” (not a Duran Duran cover), which intros with a brief, pretty Classical guitar melody, before leaping back into the aggression.
Similar bands that come to mind: Biohazard, Suicidal Tendencies, Deftones, S.O.D., Anthrax, Overkill, Sepultura, Testament, Nuclear Assault, Kaos. “Gamechanger” is a sure shot for longtime Sworn Enemy fans - - and a safe bet for anyone with a taste for animal angry Mosh Pit Hardcore/Thrash.

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