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Sworn In release a new lyric video to promote their album The Death Card

Sworn In

Oh, so apparently this isn’t the Sworn In that used to hang out in the English punk scene in the early 2000’s. Ok. Illinois metalcore quartet Sworn In are due to release their debut album The Death Card, and to promote their first effort they have unveiled a lyric video for a track called “Hypocrisy”. These guys are fairly new to the international block, so I began this review with an open mind. While I am not the biggest fan of metalcore these days, there was a period when it was all I listened to, so I do have some experience with this genre, although I believe the majority of the acts in this bracket have gone stale.

The track opens with a relatively hard-hitting riff. It is powerful and groovy, with tinges of industrial influence. I’m sure that screechy sound effect thing once belong in a KoRn song. The vocals kick in and reveal that this band, like almost every other band in the genre these days, is heavily influenced by hardcore.

This is one of the reasons why I believe the genre has turned into the recycled remains of bands like Unearth, although nowhere near as good. These vocals have an almost Oli Sykes feel to them. You know what I mean? The kind of half-screamy, half-being-raped-by-a-moose style he tends to go for. Luckily, the unremarkable vocals are accompanied with comparatively decent musicianship. While it is mostly breakdown orientated, there is some serious groove in there – whether it be in the form of the powerful opening riff or the semi-djenty, disjointed phrases that crop up.

Additionally, there are some dark, melancholic chords in there, adding that extra bit of atmosphere. It has a lot of the ingredients to make a brutally heavy anthem – there is pounding force, a driving beat and the dynamics of the song help the transition from surreal heavy to angry heavy. The vocals are probably the biggest let-down. There is little diversity in the screams (although he did try to brutal it up towards the end, with little success) and this tends to make it less metalcore and more heavy hardcore. There isn’t much of the melody that comes with traditional metalcore acts like Killswitch Engage or All That Remains, nor is there as much groove as the likes of Unearth. So, in this regard, I would not truly classify these guys as metalcore, although I wouldn’t class them as purely hardcore either.

The worst thing about lyric videos for some bands is that they shine a spotlight on the actual lyrics, and quite often the result is quite ugly. When the words rush past the screen, you can’t help but notice exactly how much thought has been put into them. In this case, it appears to be very little. From what I gather, the song is about a cheating girlfriend. Woooo originality. Ok we’ll let that slide. It’s not really the subject matter that is so bad, but rather the… words. Most of them. The lyrics are dominated by clichés. Some of the attempted witticisms are laughable at best. “Fuck you You’re meaningless to me You’re everything You told me never to be” Oh wow, I’ve never heard that before. “So take your necklace off and put a fucking noose in its place” That was your breakdown catchphrase? Really? “Sick and twisted, fucked up and ruthless Deranged at worst and at very best useless” I actually can’t tell if that’s atrocious or genius.

In the end, this song and the accompanying video have some very clear weak points, but it does have its strengths. It does have an anthem-y feel to it. I’m sure one could get their two step on to such shenanigans as these. There is a degree of atmosphere, as well as crushing heaviness. It seems that this is not a terrible song. It has its merits, but these come with drawbacks in the form of bland vocals and occasionally childish lyrics. I deem this…acceptable.

The Death Card is out on August 20th, via Razor & Tie Records

What do you guys think? Do you agree with our ill tempered Scot? Are you a fan of Sworn In? What’s the difference between metalcore and metallic hardcore? Sound off in the comments!