During Sworn Enemy's 2002 track "I.D.S.", singer Sal Lococo vows to remain tethered to hardcore tradition: "We won't stray from our ways/Stay true till the day we die." Fortunately for headbangers, Lococo broke this pact. Sworn Enemy's latest album Maniacal marks the culmination of its remarkable metamorphosis from tough-guy crew to thrash colossus. The group retains some of hardcore's signature elements, such as full-group shouts and inspirational lyrics, but it replaces plodding breakdowns with flashy dual-guitar shredding. "Time to Rage," the new record's live crowd-pleaser, follows Metallica's "Whiplash" template: It's a song about moshing that makes people mosh. Sworn Enemy has completed its hardcore-to-metal makeover, but its fanbase remains in transition, leading to tension between windmill kickers and slam dancers. Says guitarist Lorenzo Antonucci, who referees such confrontations every night, "Everybody's gotta let their aggression out whatever way they have to, and just respect each other in the pit."
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.