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The French quartet SWORN has been honing its craft since 2003 or thereabout, citing inspiration from bands like Opeth, Anathema and Faith No More. With a stable line-up materializing in 2009, the band members decided to hit the studio, and the end result was issued as the EP УSwornФ in 2010. On this lengthy EP, which might as well be regarded as a full album, they explore a basic sound I'd describe as Metallica meets Radiohead. They blend massive, compact guitar riff-dominated themes with light and almost ethereal ones, the light and slightly nervous vocals of frontman Florian emphasizing the Radiohead association. Adding flavors to the proceedings is the occasional inclusion of jazz-inspired rhythms, while the gentler parts frequently have a slight psychedelic tinge and occasionally a jazz-oriented one. Frantic rhythm tirades backed by rich, drawn-out guitar riffs and doom-laden themes featuring light and gentle guitars underscoring riffs both testify to the stated Celtic Frost influence, and occasional flirtations with alternative metal by way of staccato melodic riffs is another expression utilized to good effect. ItТs an interesting mix, with opening track Lunatic being arguably the best example, bordering on true brilliance to my ears. What appears to be a relatively lo-fi production is the main negative asset, mostly affecting vocals and drums. Well-worth checking out for those who find this description compelling.
Olav M Bjornsen: June 7, 2011
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