Armenia… Do they have a metal scene over there? Well, I guess so, because I recently received Tended High from the Armenian fivesome Sworn. After some searching on the World Wide Web I read that these youngsters founded the band back in 2005 and in that same year they also released their first effort. After an EP and signing with Haarbn Productions they’ve now released their second full-length.
The CD starts with a 4-minute long instrumental track. The track is very relaxing and creates a nice atmosphere. Listening to ‘Once A Rainy Solitude’ I get the avant-garde part of their music, but the black is far from present. This instrumental song reminds me a bit of Opeth’s music on Damnation. ‘In My Soul Despair’ starts with the same atmosphere as created by the opening track, but very soon it becomes heavier and lets me see why Sworn is a black metal band. Some tight, fast drumming, dark vocals and some heavy riffing. Luckily for me they keep that atmosphere from ‘Once A Rainy Solitude’ also in their songs. During ‘In My Soul Despair’ also Vladimir’s clean vocals are presented to the audience and I must say: they blew me away! Think about the backing, clean vocals of Dimmu Borgir, but way better!
The keyboards are a very essential part of Sworn’s music and that, I really like. Furthermore the atmosphere, created by their Opethish instrumental sections and the clean vocals of Vladimir makes this release really worth buying. Especially the title track is a little masterpiece, where they display in just under 10 minutes what they are capable of. The “true” black metal fans will probably say this is too commercial or something, but they’ve probably got their hands full on buying and listening to all the Striborg releases, so that’s no big deal.
02. In My Soul Despair
03. Church Obliteration
04. I Am Of Night
06. Tended High
07. Nothing Lasts
Aleksander – Bass, Growling
Vardan – Keyboards
Koryun – Drums, Programming
Arsen – Rhythm Guitar, Screaming, Backings Vocals