Released: 2008, Twilight Vertrieb
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
The Norwegian black metal scene always seems to have some extra ´aces´ hidden deep down in the blackened sleeves of their leather jackets. These aces are always slammed down on the table when you kinda least expect it to happen. That happened to me anyway; Sworn came out from the darkest forest with a really positive surprise - when I least expected it.
Sworn, this Norwegian folk-ish black metal outfit that was originally started out as one man project type of thing by Christoffer Kjørsvik in Bergen in 2005, has only released one quality demo, titled NIGHT SUPREMACY back in 2005 that led to a recording deal with a German label Twilight Vertrieb.
As for the album´s content itself then, the albums offers a great cavalcade of folk-inspired, up-tempo songs in which the guitars´ presence becomes soon a quite dominating element. The guitar passages are really well-done, and they have a similar reverb that was found from the already defunct The Unanimated´s IN THE FOREST OF THE DREAMING DEAD (on No Fashion, 1993) album. The only difference is that while The Unanimated´s music leaned more towards death metal, Sworn is clearly more of a black metal act with many folk influences built around their sound. What I really like in Sworn´s songs is that it is incredibly catchy, atmospheric, aggressive and melodic at the same time. The opening and title track, "Alleviation", is quite a pearl of wonderfully executed, folk-ish black metal in itself. The same goes for "The Beauty of My Funeral", which also has lots of an entangling atmosphere that simply makes one think overwhelmingly sweet thoughts about this band. Admittedly the band has still been smart enough to keep things simple enough without stretching the sound towards something ´unknown´ that would weaken the overall impact of their songs. Now the songs just sit perfectly on their debut album and people are happy. At least I know I am with Sworn´s excellent performance on THE ALLEVIATION.