Sworn Enemy, Shattered Realm, and Live by the Fist…
Posted on Tuesday, January 31st, 2006 @ 1:08pm » permalink
I bought "The Beginning of the End", the latest from Queens, NY's Sworn Enemy (who are now off the majors and over at Abacus Recordings), over the weekend and I have to say that it definitely surpassed my expectations. What can I say? I just love that this band is so fucking pissed and their sound really brings that across well. Of course, the overly blunt lyrics to "We Hate" are pretty god damn ridiculous ("What I really hate is music like yours, it makes me wanna smash your head through a door," and so on…) and test my limits since the subject matter is kind of cheesy (I don't really mind such blunt lyrics when it's more of a general expression of frustration or anger or whatever), but other than that this is a ferocious disc that delivers in full – and there are actually some socio-political tinged lyrics happening elsewhere. Basically they've taken their last album and improved upon the production (the drums are still a tad clicky but the guitar tone crushes) while tossing in way more metal. There are loads of badass thrash riffs and unexpected bursts of solos amidst the crunchy 90's styled metallic hardcore breaks, and it actually reminds me a lot of the most recent Stampin' Ground record from a musical standpoint – though these songs are a little shorter and more focused so the energy level never drops off at all. I'm not really diggin' that cover art for some reason, though, I dunno… But you can't judge a book by its cover, right? I actually think I like this album better than their debut. Well done.
Sworn Enemy "Forgotten"
Sworn Enemy "No Second Chances"
I don't know what's up with Abacus' distribution since a lot of my normal stops that should carry this don't have it yet, but it's been out for a week, so pick this shit up and add a little more furious rage to your life:
@ Relapse Records
I'm still a little torn on Eulogy Recordings' recent release of "From the Dead End Blocks Where Life Means Nothing", by Shattered Realm. But I think it's simply because I had really high hopes for the record, and as finicky as my ears are, that can sometimes create problems for me. I mean, fuck, anyone who reads this site knows how ridiculous my fandom of the New Jersey area is, so a band with ex-members of Second to None and Fury of Five in tow? You bet your ass I'm a fan. And shit, man, this one definitely boasts the best album title I've come across in a long ass time. And that cover art? Slick as hell. I fuckin' love it. So what gives? Well, I'm a little bummed that after waiting so damn long for another Shattered Realm full-length this puppy only runs about 22 minutes, but I definitely dig the tunes, so it basically does boil down to my finicky ears. These cats are as pissed as ever and their brand of crunchy, no bullshit metallic hardcore comes from a time before makeup and shitty melodic metal riffs perverted the fusion of the two genres. But the production on this thing's lacking for me, there's just no way around it. Thankfully by the midway point of the record my ears tend to adjust to the mix, and I like that the rhythm section has a prominent punch to it, but… where's the beef!? The guitars just need to be louder and fuller to really carry the weight, you know? At the end of the day it's not that big of a deal, but… were the production not quite as flat the songs would definitely have a much more explosive impact. Hopefully they'll really blow the doors off the joint next time, and hopefully we won't all have to wait as long for album #3!
Shattered Realm "Devil in Disguise"
I'd post another track for sampling purposes, but the label sells mp3 downloads and I don't want to piss anyone off (though I hate mp3's and the thought of buying mp3's over pressed CD's makes me physically ill), so… pick your poison if you're a fan (And you know my vote goes for the tangible disc, fuck this digital shit!):
@ Eulogy Recordings
And last but not least, I have to apologize to whoever sent this CD to me, because I think it's literally been sitting here for like four months or something and I'm just now getting to it! But Live by the Fist is a straightedge band from Brazil and I believe "No End in Sight" is their debut full-length, released by Caustic. Looking at the multi vocal lineup and taking into account their beliefs you'd probably guess that this band seems to be influenced by Path of Resistance, and all the two-minute songs chock full of midpaced power chords and traditional metallic hardcore structures do little to argue against that assumption (though there's a more aggressive modern edge at work vocally). The songwriting could use a hint more variety, and I'd like to hear them use more obvious interplay between the different vocalists, but this is a competent debut, and I wouldn't be surprised if these guys go apeshit live – I mean, shit, there are seven band members! Oh, and their band name is awesome. Sorry, I know it's a little goofy, but I love it. Plus, they share the name with a hilarious 1993 action flick starring Jerry "Golden Boy" Trimble! (And yes, I own the DVD.)
Live by the Fist "The Blame"
Live by the Fist "Live Free"
I haven't been able to find any American distros carrying this CD, but you can try buying it direct from the label or contacting them for further information on their distributors outside of Brazil. I'm guessing it'll be easier to get your hands on it in Europe, though, as I've noticed a definite lack of attention on the Brazilian scene here in the US over the last five years: