Review Summary: One foot forward........just a bit too far for the band's own good.
There was something oddly lovable about the angst and pure rage of Sworn In’s debut record The Death Card
. Sure, it was easy to find faults with their style. The lyricism was juvenile in its angst, rife with unneeded profanity, the vocals were certainly an acquired taste, and the music incorporated shades of nu metal with the deathcore. Yet there was something about how unbridled and angry it was that attracted. Songs like “Hypocrisy” and “Snake Eyes” were just too much fun, once you got past some of the band’s more abrasive characteristics. On the band’s follow-up, The Lovers/The Devil
, it somehow both harnesses that and loses it in places.
There’s a sense of duality to the album, evident in the album title, and it comes through in a couple of distinct aspects. The more up front of the two is the newfound variation in vocal styles. Besides the tortured snarls and screams of old, the band has begun to experiment with a variety of cleanly sung choruses. It becomes their own take on the classic metalcore “beauty and the beast” style vocals. The other method that a sense of duality comes through is in the level of growth and experimentation found here. The Lover/The Devil
turns out to be about halfway stuck in the mud and halfway advancing forward determinably. It features both their most adventurous songs and their most stale. Most remarkably of all, it just seems like the latter is more interesting than the former.
The strange melodies of “I Don’t Really Love You” are interesting for a time, but just isn’t as fun as the depraved heaviness of “Oliolioxinfree”. The schizophrenic nu metal-meets-deathcore of “Sunshine” outshines the laughable singing of “Pocket Full of Posies”. It proves to make The Lover/The Devil
into a mixed bag in terms of enjoyment. The band's performance is acceptable and there are highlights, but the songwriting is really what brings the album to less than it could be.