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Sworn to Oath

Leave You for Dead

(Self-released; US: 7 Nov 2011; UK: 7 Nov 2011)

Metal by the numbers

Sworn to Oath is a standard-issue metal band from the English midlands. Their four-track EP Leave You for Dead goes through all the necessary motions as opening track “Last Call” expresses the requisite amounts of aggression with its thumping percussion and overdriven, squalling guitars—there is an unfortunate nu-metal vibe here, and little if any variation in the rest of the tunes.


Lead singer Tom (no last name) offers vocals that are thankfully clean—no Cookie Monster growling here—but even so, they betray a limited range, both musically and lyrically. “False Promise” is the best tune here, its midtempo rhythms complementad by a chugging guitar riff and tight playing from the rhythm section, but you know what? With a zillion metal bands out there, it takes something more than simple competence to stand out from the pack. If Sworn to Oath possess that something extra, it’s not on display here.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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