Review Summary: Old school metal reigns and these Swedes should be worshiped accordingly.
As years pass by and the myriads of releases keep landing like bolts upon the scalp of mankind, it becomes harder and harder for artists worldwide to claim that they are creating totally original music with every new release they put out. Hard rock and heavy metal are two genres where the aforementioned situation is readily evident, as fans and press tend to compare bands and their released content in more (non-trivial) ways than one. However, there are outfits that replicate the ways of old “by the numbers”, yet they produce highly intriguing material which assesses them as undisputed leaders in their game.
Sweden’s Enforcer are a characteristic example with respect to ‘80s old school heavy metal. Brought into existence in 2004 by the Wikstrand brothers (singer Olof and drummer Jonas), Enforcer soon became the talk of the underground through the blog screams of acclaimed old school metal die-hards such as Fenriz (Darkthrone), forcing Nuclear Blast to sign the band and release its second album Diamonds
in 2010. Three years later, Enforcer emphatically reinstall themselves at the forefront of contemporary “classic” (sic) metal with the release of an excellent album, titled Death By Fire
At a first glance, the new album feels familiar to the band’s debut Into The Night
, mostly because of its overall faster pace with respect to Diamonds
. Enforcer strongly believe that the world is desperately short of more quality ‘80s old school metal and in that light, they craft a dynamic heavy/speed metal album with nearly no mediocre sites within it. The absence of uninteresting material can firstly be ascribed to the amplified level of intensity with respect to the band’s prior work. At a second stage, one cannot help but notice the tremendous improvement the band has achieved in every sector.
Starting from the old fashioned sound production, the third Enforcer album hardly does anything to differentiate itself from everything metal during the late-‘70s-to-early-‘80s period, yet it’s not a shameful rehash of sound engineering ideas. The same apply for both the song arrangements and the proficiency level of instrumentation. The band has worked really hard so as to remove any evidence that would assess parts of every song or their entirety as generic.
In the light of the above, superb tracks such as “Death Rides This Night” or “Run For Your Life” are really worth mentioning, as they are highlighted with sudden but well placed shifts in rhythm section tempo and a frantic duo of lead guitars shouting at each other constantly. Speaking of which, Enforcer are endorsed by two separate guitars on this album (Olof will undertake rhythm guitar duties besides singing on tour) and this new band setup deeply favors the maniacal, Iron-Maiden-driven, wankery-free, double soloing on not too few occasions. The cherry on top of the pie though, is Olof’s vocals which, with their turn, sound stronger than ever. Fully aligned with the rest of band, Olof has done a great job in maintaining the undisputed attitude of his voice throughout the album. While he can admittedly go “over the sky” with his vibrato, his awesome “teenage” pitch, while it is powerful, it remains at a level where fans can join him in awesome chorus/lyrics sing-alongs.
When all is said and done; for the third time in a row, Enforcer have consciously chosen to “ignore” 30 prolific years of “classic” metal production and give out their brand of old school metal, baring the attitude of the metal giants whose shoulders they stand upon. Be sure to catch these guys on tour, as it is on the stage where this band and material really live and breathe.