Sworn Enemy was formed in Queens, NY in late 1997. They have toured on Ozzfest and opened for Anthrax and Hatebreed. They recorded their first EP, “Negative Outlook,” in 2001 for Stillborn Records – the label of Hatebreed singer Jamey Jasta – and “The Beginning of the End” is their second CD.

You would think that this would be the perfect environment for a metal band to grow up in, but maybe it’s because of these ties to the metal scene that Sworn Enemy are quite derivative and boring. They seem to have taken the easy way out by copying their mentors instead of making their own contributions to metal.

They use almost every clich in modern metal – first the “tough,” extra-loud double bass pedal, then the overly shred-based emotionless solos. Not to deny the talent of either the drummer Paul Antignani or guitarist Lorenzo Antonucci, who are both very technically good but are in no way original or very interesting.

The opening riff to the second song, “Scared of the Unknown,” almost directly rips off Slayer’s classic “Raining Blood.” Just like every other metalcore band, they incorporate the “breakdown” but do it in a totally uninteresting way just like all the other 15,387 bands out there. They even go as far as shouting “Break it down” on “Beginning of the End,” just so you know that they’re as cool as every other band that does the exact same thing.

The vocals are classic hardcore yelling with plenty of “yearrrrrrrrrrgggggs” thrown into the mix. The lyrics go from “life is bleak” to “I’m an individualist.” Both the title track and “Save Your Breath” – on which vocalist Sal Lococo yells, “I never needed anyone, I’ll always stand on my own” – are wonderfully stereotypical. Even better is on “We Hate,” with the uninspired lyric, “makes me wanna smash your head through a door” – you’ve got to be kidding me.

The album was produced by Tim Lambesis, the singer of a slightly more emo but equally derivative metalcore band, As I Lay Dying. The packaging of the album is similarly generic – a cross alongside an American flag with blood trickling down the side, a dog tag with “Sworn Enemy” on it, a church with ravens flying near it and pictures of all four of the band members looking tough.

And of course, nothing in metal today is complete without a tribute to Pantera’s recently deceased master of metal guitar, Dimebag Darrell. Not to be rude, but I personally feel that bands everywhere are saying “RIP Dimebag” just to attract fans and are dropping his name as an attempt to give themselves credibility in the metal scene. This is hardly an honor to Dimebag and in fact it is disrespectful to the memory of a legend.

In the end I really couldn’t tell one song from the next, let alone distinguish their songs from the many metalcore bands out there today. The lyrics are simply awful and everything about the CD is unoriginal and boring.

Abt can be reached at gabt@campustimes.org.

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