Listen Up: Wednesday, February 22, 2006
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PHOTOS: 1
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Sworn Enemy

Beginning of the End (Abacus Recordings)

The name of New York City-based Sworn Enemy’s sophomore major-label c.d. is Beginning of the End, and a more appropriately titled disc you may never find. The band’s sound is maddeningly repetitive hardcore — crunching guitars, double-bass triple rolls, and a self-loathing gutter-mouthed vocalist. In case you didn’t know that demand for this type of music ended about 20 years ago, Beginning of the End is here to make sure.

Born in the Northeast during the early 1990s, hardcore was a mix of heavy-metal virtuosity and punk attitude and was quickly done in by its emphasis on “authenticity” and lyrical substance violent and misogynistic enough to make Eazy-E blanch. Some bands, like Sick Of It all, D.R.I., and The Offspring, were relatively diverse-sounding and, as a result, have had longer shelf lives. Most other hardcore acts, however, kept it “real” and burned out a long, long time ago.

The flames of their demise fuel Sworn Enemy’s hardcore-by-the-numbers excursions here. Based on the music, this disc could have come out in 1997 (the year Sworn Enemy formed) or last week. As the old saying goes: If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse. Well, someone needs to tell that to these trapped-in-the-past Yankees. — Justin Press


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