Sworn Vengeance was founded by Brian Baumgartner, brothers Adam and Ryan Encinas, Marc Fortner and Nate Olsen in 1998 from the ashes of the San Francisco Bay Area hardcore band Downshift. While Downshift had some elements of late 80’s youth crew hardcore bands due to all the members being straight edge, Sworn Vengeance wanted their music to be a much heavier sound with stronger influences of the metal they all grew up listening to.
Their first show was in 1998 at the Maritime Hall in San Francisco with Hatebreed. After a Northwest tour in July, Adam left the band for personal reasons and Bob Hookey stepped in as their new bassist.
In September 1998, Sworn Vengeance entered the studio to record an 8-song demo CD entitled “My Friend Violence”. The tracks interested Mike Mraz of the Hoods, who contacted the band about releasing the first album on his new label, Westcoast Worldwide.
In January 1999, a week before recording, Nate decided to step down as guitarist. The band decided to continue as a four piece and record a 10 track CD for Westcoast Worldwide entitled “Abbadon.” Even heavier and faster than before, the material took the band to a whole new level of sound, as well as exposure thanks to Mike Mraz’s networking within the hardcore underground.
Taking some tracks off their “My Friend Violence” demo, Sworn Vengeance contributed to a split 7″ with All Bets Off. Also released at that time was a 7″ of the Nineteen Ninety Hate demo (original recorded as Downshift) on Back ta Basics (Rick Healey from 25 ta Life’s label). With these releases plus 2 new songs on the first Westcoast Worldwide compilation, crowds at shows began to grow bigger. Soon after, Bob stepped down to take care of personal matters and Brian, Marc and Ryan auditioned new people. The band picked up Dan Coddaire on second guitarist and Carl Schwartz (First Blood) on bass.
While playing countless shows throughout the Bay Area, Sworn Vengeance hit the studio again and recorded “Domination” at the end of 1999 for Breakout Records. International attention grew with this release and helped them establish themselves as one of the heaviest hardcore bands from California.
A few months after “Domination” was released, Dan was asked to step down and the band continued as a four piece, touring both the West Coast and East Coast of the United States, playing with bands like Shadows Fall, Buried Alive, Vision of Disorder, Glassjaw, Cave In, Snapcase, One King Down, Redemption 87, Animosity, Punishment, Blessing The Hogs, NJ Bloodline, 25 ta Life, Hoods, Clear, Unconquered, Eighteen Visions, Dysphoria, Over My Dead Body, Papa Roach and Bleeding Through, among many others. Sworn Vengeance was also asked to perform and be interviewed for an Australian documentary on music, with an audience of 6,000,000 people.
Due to personal and band related disagreements, Marc was asked to step down and Sworn Vengeance picked up Tony Barbier on drums and Doug Weber (Terror) on second guitar. Their sound took a new turn with the addition of these members, as the band felt that they had finally achieved a cohesive unit with everyone on the same page. Sworn Vengeance started writing heavier material with a new twist within their genre – adding harmonies to the riffs. Currently an overdone effect, at the time there were very few, if any, bands in hardcore that were merging harmonies with the much more aggressive and heavier sound that Sworn Vengeance was known for.
in 2001, Too Damn Hype Records approached Sworn Vengeance to record their next full length. The band started to record a series of songs, most for the album and some for some splits and comps that were offered. But a lot of personal and internal pressures were starting to weigh on some of the members, and on the eve of playing a handful of California shows with Hatebreed in March 2002, Sworn Vengeance disbanded.
They briefly reunited in 2003 for two shows to honor their friend Donald Perrot and his girlfriend, who were tragically killed in a car accident (Ryan Wilson and Neil Dhawan, friends of the band, handled bass and guitar duties for these shows). In 2003, the band chose to digitally release the unmastered material they were recording at no cost to their fans. Labeled “The Outstretched Arms of Damnation,” this material consisted of the songs set for their Too Damn Hype Records release, as well as various splits and compilation albums they were preparing material for.
Carl and Doug went on to form the band First Blood and play in the band Terror while the rest of the band focused on their education and careers. In October 2007, Brian, Ryan and Tony got together with original bassist Adam and long time friend and music collaborator Neil Dhawan and played a reunion show in Reno, Nevada.
Around this time, the band got some unintentional notoriety due to an article in Entertainment Weekly when they were randomly mentioned due to Brian having the same name as an actor on the NBC television show “The Office.” In November 2010, Brian, Ryan, Neil and Tony got back together and played another reunion show and started discussing re-forming Sworn Vengeance. The band added Jon Frost of At Our Heels and Light This City to join them on bass.
In July 2013, Sworn Vengeance stepped into the studio for the first time in 10 years to record new material for a full length album available on Escapist (USA) and Goodlife (Europe), as well as a split 10″ on Knives Out Records (Paris, France). In August, Sworn Vengeance played with Earth Crisis on their West Coast leg of their Firestorm 20th Anniversary Tour. The band is planning on playing more fests and mini tours in 2014.
. West Coast tour with Lowlife spring 1999
. East Coast tour with Dysphoria fall 2000
. West Coast tour with Comin Correct summer 2001
. East Coast tour with NJ Bloodline fall 2001
. Mexican tour spring 2014
Ryan Encinas – Vocals • Brian Baumgartner – Guitar • Neil Dhawan – Guitar • Tony Barbier – Drums • Jonathan Frost – Bass
1999 : SWORN VENGEANCE “My Friend Violence” – CD | Self Released Demo
1999 : SWORN VENGEANCE “Abbadon” – CD | Westcoast Worldwide Records
1999 : V/A “Straight Edge: Rise Of A New Era” – CD | Breakout Records
1999 : SWORN VENGEANCE “The Blood & The Chaos” – 7″ | Back ta Basics Records
1999 : SWORN VENGEANCE/ALL BETS OFF “Destroyer Of Worlds” – 7″ | One Scene Records
1999 : SWORN VENGEANCE/HOODS/ABOVE THIS WORLD/DISEPTIKONS/PIPEDOWN/EXECUTION STYLE “Contenders For The Crown” – CD | Westcoast Worldwide Records
1999 : SWORN VENGEANCE “Domination” – CD | Breakout Records
2000 : V/A WORLDWIDE – CD | Westcoast Worldwide Records
2000 : V/A “Ascend From The Darkness | Dark Visions Records
2001 : SWORN VENGEANCE/NJ BLOODLINE/SETTLE THE SCORE – CD | On The Rise Records
2002 : V/A WORLDWIDE II – CD | Westcoast Worldwide Records
2002 : SWORN VENGEANCE/HOSTILITY/EX-INFERIS/EXISTENCE “4 Way Death Match” – CD | Battlescarred Records
2002 : V/A COVERED IN BLOOD: A TRIBUTE TO SLAYER’S “REIGN IN BLOOD” – CD | Spook City Records
2002 : SWORN VENGEANCE “The Outstretched Arms Of Damnation” | Unfinished recordings released on SV’s website
2013 : SWORN VENGEANCE “And With This Hammer Of Vengeance” – CD,LP | Goodlife Records, Escapist Records
2014: SWORN VENGEANCE/ST HOOD “Primeval” – Picture disc 10″ vinyl | Knives Out Records