Crossover quintet Sworn Enemy came out of New York's hardcore scene about ten years ago. Its early material was, at best, a pale shadow of Agnostic Front's worst. With nothing to lose, the band switched from NYHC to thrash on 2006's The Beginning of the End. And it worked: Trading a Hatebreed infatuation for Iron Maiden riffs finally gave the group a face beneath all the generic breakdowns. On its latest effort, Maniacal, Sworn Enemy piles on even more metal, lifting riffs and ideas from forgettable Anthrax and Testament songs. As I Lay Dying drummer Jordan Mancino works his double-bass setup so relentlessly, he makes his carb-burning kicks sound easy — and ultimately dull — and frontman Sal LoCoco still sings like he's pissed off about having a bad case of acid reflux, while floor-scraping down-tuned intros and let-'em-rip solos complete the mechanical thrash workout. The sum is tough-guy hardcore that only sounds metal.
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