Sworn Enemy Maniacal

The third new label in as many albums for these NYHC veterans, this time around the venerable hardcore unit have completely retooled their sound with some severely head-turning results. The band have embraced their inner Kreator for this new recording and have become an increasingly affable thrash-friendly hardcore band. They have also named their new album quite appropriately, as Maniacal leaps out of the speakers in a way the band have never been able to do before. The ferocity of this record indicates that it is by far their most pissed off and focused yet. I don’t know if it’s the guest drumming of As I Lay Dying’s Jordan Mancino that made the band step it up a notch or if they were already well on their way to doing so but this is one impressive shred fest that should make non-believers stand up and take notice. This is one of the biggest surprises so far of 2008. (Century Media)