Sworn To Oath - Pillars
Stoke on Trent: Famous for the guitar god that is Slash and, well err...Robbie Williams! Not to worry it gets back on an even keel with Sworn To Oath, thrashing it hard and fast, just the way I like it!
Having formed in 2009, they, wisely I feel, took their time to hone their sound on the UK underground metal scene playing with some of the best melodic acts of the British metal scene, before embarking on their debut album Pillars released this time last year. With rumours of them working on a second and having recently had the good fortune of seeing them live I felt it only fair to see what the lads had to offer properly.
Kicking it all off is Outcast, sounding confident, the visceral driving assault of an opener starts with screaming rage filled vocals provided by Tom superbly backed by Dave with the thumping aural assault by Al completing the trio with style. The hooks are immense, perfectly placed with an immense chorus and brutal guitar work that leaves you breathless.
Forever Hurting is their second offering, a head thrashing, neck ache inducing riff laden spectacular that continues the fury with a brutally heavy introduction, here the vocals, whilst remaining rage filled metal screams ease off to show the melodious properties Tom has without losing the integrity and grit that lies at their core.
Let The Rain Pour; a hook laden behemoth by what is fast proving to be an immensely talented trio. Immediately continuing the heavy hitting, thrash monster of an album, it is heavy enough to keep metal heads happy with, I feel, the ability to become that bit more commercial. Not a bad thing at all. Heavy guitar, pounding drums and a riff that is nothing short of eargasm material, it is an out and out win.
And this is where I begin to struggle; honestly there is not one song on the entire 10 track album that I dislike, not one. I could go on, I really could.
Both the prowess and the versatility of Tom and Dave mean that the melody and brutality tightrope, and often downfall, of many a band is perfectly executed.
The band’s sound, that could have been cumbersome and conflicted is instead presented in such a way that they complement each other; they create an attention grabbing juxtaposition that is a welcome change to the cluttered, chaotic approach favoured by others. Screaming from the rooftops that this band is here and here to stay the album throws out some stonking tunes. They sound as if they have been doing this for millennia, comfortable and at ease with their non-stop aural pummelling.
All My Time deserves a special mention here as it has all the hallmarks of a classic metal song; aggression, big heavy riffs, drums that beat a path into your brain and grizzled vocals ticking every box imaginable. Yet there is more, they bring some fantastic hooks and a surprisingly pop laden chorus that gives yet another dimension.
The whole album is a knockout punch, able to stand toe to toe with its rivals and even outshine them; the production gives a dark, homely feel.
Evocative of a cramped, sweaty venue, fans crashing into each other with abandon and having a bloody good time. Pillars is an all-round excellent album, it will stand out as one of the better metal albums for 2014 with accessible yet attitude filled songs heavy enough to placate the head thrasher in all of us.
To test this theory, all in the name of science (nothing to do with the real ale…honest!) I decided to bimble over to see them perform, live and in person. And hells teeth! The trio, as loud and as uproarious as they are in CD form, it is nothing compared to the real life sweat drenched journey they offer in person.
Just three, yes read that again, just three of them create the biggest cacophony of thrash you could ever wish to hear. I have heard bands with more members make less than half the noise that Dave, Tom and Al bang out. Timed to perfection, without a missed beat they out and out smashed it. Proving for sure that whilst their album is a hit, their live performances are where they really come to life, breathing, sweating and crashing out the tunes to please all, their “don’t give a fuck” attitude is never more visible than when on stage whilst they remain humble in their presentation. A bunch of properly lovely guys that deserve to smash through and make their mark; they are already well on their way and I for one look forward to their next album.
Words: Kat Hilton