Lorenzo Antonucci, guitarist for the band Sworn Enemy, knew the band's new album had to be strong.
"We were on a major label a few years ago, and then we had to take a break because life got in the way," Antonucci said by phone from Grand Rapids, Mich. "I lost my mother, and things got real heavy from 2003 to 2004. We looked around and found we didn't have a record label and basically felt like we had to start over from scratch."
For nearly a year, the band -- made up of Antonucci, vocalist Sal Lococo, bassist Edward Kilpatrick, drummer Paul Antignai and guitarist Jamin Hunt -- wrote songs, shopped around for a new record label, eventually signed with Abacus Records and recorded a new album "The Beginning Of The End" (read review on UG).
"We had a lot to do, and we've been away from the scene for a while," said Antonucci. "We had to focus on the songs and make sure each was able to stand alone. The last album we did had a lot of filler, but this new one doesn't. Sure there are songs that are better than the others, but all the songs have been strong for us."
The band ventured into the studio with seven songs completed. The band had other songs written and ready to go, but producer Tim Lambesis, who is also the lead singer for the band As I Lay Dying, had other plans. "We got the songs there and Tim ripped them apart," said Antonucci with a laugh. "He ripped them up and put them back together, making them stronger and better. We have 11 songs on this album, and we are just beginning to see what they can do."
Even before the album was released in January, Sworn Enemy's audience had been eager for new songs. "We have been surprised at how good the reception is," said Antonucci. "The kids at the shows react well to the songs. We've had a lot of positive reviews, and people have been coming up to us after the show to tell us how much they like the album."
Being able to release "The Beginning Of The End" is a major reward for the band, said Antonucci, who cited Slayer, Anthrax, The Cro-Mags and Biohazard as some of his musical influences. "We formed back when the Nu Metal movement was happening in the late '90s. We wanted to make music that was different than the trends. And we just kept to ourselves and did what we wanted to do."
The persistence paid off. Not only is the album a critical success, but the band is busier than ever, said the guitarist. "We're wrapping up this leg of the tour. Then we go home for two weeks and then head out with Six Feet Under, and again with Madball, and do an MTV Headbanger's Ball tour. And then we'll head to Europe and tour with a bunch of other bands and, in a few months, come back and probably head back into the studio to start a new album."