Sworn Enemy – “Gamechanger” (M-Theory Audio)
Battle Helm Rating
‘..step the f–k back, before you get knocked down!!!..’ OMG, for those of you that remember 2003’s “As Real As It Gets” produced by Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta, then get ready for “Gamechanger”, a mean mutha of a release under the streetwise hands of none other than Robb Flynn of Machine Head, and engineered, mixed and mastered by Zack Ohren (Suffocation, Fallujah, Warbringer). As such, this is an utterly savage beast, bringing the ugly, heavy riffs of Terror with the gutter attitude and metallic crossover that famed Biohazard back in their heyday. Sworn Enemy, who also hail from New York, were formed in the late 90s so it doesn’t come as a surprise where this aggressive, in your face style took its influence from, and founder Sal Lococo is still a pitbull of a vocalist, hoarser, angry and bitter as he ever was. With pretty much the same band that recorded 2014’s “Living On Borrowed Time”, this 6th full length album brilliantly captures the full force of Sworn Enemy’s live show with all the charged, violent and stomping action on the 11 visceral tracks here. However, for a band that’s toured with the likes of Anthrax, Mastodon, Fear Factory, Sepultura, Suicide Silence, Dying Fetus, Earth Crisis and Madball, what sets apart Sworn Enemy from the run of the mill boot boys – and goes a long way to explain their longevity – is that beyond the trademarked hardcore shout outs, metallic solos and stomping beats are the menacing but catchy grooves, vicious but memorable hooks, and cerebral arrangements to terrorise and equally tantalise on tracks like ‘Prepare For Payback’ with its dirty riffing matching the street justice lyrics driven by hard kick beats as Lococo roars ‘…you deserve what you get..’! As the tempo kicks up on ‘DOA’ with its NYHC patented riffs and slick, double bass beats, Lococo’s raw vocals spew out some rhyming lyrics crucially poignant in their composition while on ‘The Fall Of Modern Man’, the twin chundering guitars of Jeff Cummings and Matt Garzilli brood and thunder along to the twanging bass of Mike Pucciarelli while allowing the intimidation of their music to soak in on slower passages as Lococo busts his rhymes all over it all – awesome! Closing with the ultra street stomp of ‘Integrity Defines Strength’ aka ‘IDS’ (or Instant Death Squad muthaf–ka!) with its heavy riff and drum mix providing an ominous backdrop to Lococo calling in the shout outs, you know this one’s just waitin’ to burn live. Short n sweet as a brutal one-two, Sworn Enemy prove that they still live up to their name, so don’t f–k with these guys.