Music Review: Enforcer
CD: Death By Fire
Label: Nuclear Blast
I have always been a fan of the early New Wave Of Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) sound which was so instrumental in spearheading the surge in heavy metal popularity in the early to mid-80’s before you had the mega successful bands finally able to be financed by mega record labels and placed inside recording studios to give them a ultra polished production sound to help them sell a million copies of their record.
As the metal scene/sound evolved during the 80’s and beyond I noticed that the bands tended sound more and more removed in their recording due to the production of their albums which to me sometimes would make the band’s sound seem sterile and detached sometimes. I also understand time marches on but sometimes at the cost of losing that something special that once made the band great. I once read where Tom G. Warrior once stated that when he first heard the sounds of early Metallica and the American Thrash bands of the mid-80’s it was so different from the European bands of the time. He said the European bands sounded more like pub bands in their studio sound and the American bands had a more of a clinical sound. Though those early thrash bands still had that special warm sound and not the polished sound we hear today. But that old sound was a sound that helped us identify with those bands and feel we were a part of what they were doing.
Now that we live in a age where more people are able to have bands, record their music and be more creative without the pressure of a record label CEO telling a band how to sound, we are beginning to see bands go to a more stripped down form of recording their mixes and leaving the raw aggression and youth sound in their music.
This brings us to the Swedish band Enforcer. Enforcer has taken up the torch of the old NWOBHM sound and applied it to their sound, image, lyrics and style. And all I can say is what a breath of fresh air it is. From start to bottom of their album “Death by Fire” you have classic early 80’s metal in the youthful high ranges vocals, the intimate, warm, sound of the old school way of recording their songs, the twin guitars, and the catchy choruses.
Songs like ‘Death Rides The Night’ is pure NWOBHM as is the instrumental ‘Crystal Suite’ which will make you think you are listening to old Iron Maiden…as in Maiden’s debut album/Killers old. Here you will hear a style all in the form of those old bands from the early 80’s. Bands like Angel Witch, Praying Mantis, Exciter, Venom, Diamond Head and early Iron Maiden are all obvious influences here.
This album reminds of a time when if you were a kid in the 80’s you would buy a record and sit in your room, that was filled with posters of metal bands (and scantly glad women), for hours listening to the album on your record player as you look over the albums artwork and photos of the band just to know more about them.
I really can’t get enough of the sound on this album and just the raw enthusiasm of the songs, and the songs themselves are really great with catchy hooks and excellent guitar work.
I don’t think Enforcer is an aberration either. You have bands like Skullfist, White Wizzard, Holy Grail, Lost Society and a slew of other younger bands who are trying to go after this sound. I feel this is a telling sign that our youth of today, no longer influenced either by MTV or radio, who is wanting to strip away the clean image and glitter that, pervades our pop music and even some our metal scene of today and just ROCK and be rebellious. A sound that makes you feel as if you are THERE.
Go out and get Enforcer’s ‘Death By Fire’ and experience the resurgence of what helped make Heavy Metal great to begin with.
Death By Fire Tracklisting:
01. Bells Of Hades
02. Death Rides This Night
03. Run For Your Life
04. Mesmerized By Fire
05. Take Me Out Of This Nightmare
06. Crystal Suite
08. Silent Hour / The Conjugation