Ever since they exploded onto the scene with 2008’s kick-ass debut album “Into the Night”, Enforcer have been the band to pay attention to if you give a shit about honest-to-God Heavy Metal done the way it should be done. Their captivating yet simple merging of galloping NWOBHM riffage with the sneering venom of speed metal is a winning combination, and upon seeing pictures of the band, all denim-and-leather and white hi-tops, it all makes sense, and the year could easily be 1983 all over again, so timeless and true is the Enforcer modus operandi.
The release of their third album “Death By Fire” sees frontman Olaf Wiktrand taking over guitar duties as well as vocals with the band sounding twice as heavy as a result, replete with all the twin-guitar harmonies you could ever want. The 30-second prelude of opener ‘Bells of Hades’ gives you just enough time to prepare yourself before the dueling leads, rapid chugging and high-pitched screams of ‘Death Rides This Night’ explode out of your speakers with all the single-minded intensity of a hesher on his way to an untapped beer keg. The infectious songwriting, gloriously old-school mentality and crunchy production all combine to sublime effect and it just gets better from there.
The Iron Maiden-on-steroids riff fury of ‘Run For Your Life’ is impossible not to get caught up in with its infectious delivery and it’s almost tragic that it’s over so soon. However, any hints of disappointment are instantly banished to the back of your mind with ‘Mesmerized By Fire’ which sounds like Exciter covering early Mötley Crüe. The riffs crunch, the melodies soar and the urge to pound a beer and peel on some spandex becomes an all engrossing thought. Well, maybe not the last part. With any luck you’ll be too busy headbanging to the relentless galloping of ‘Take Me Out of This Nightmare’ to risk frightening the neighbours.
Enforcer also come armed with a bassist, Tobias Lindqvist, and they’re not afraid to let him show off from time to time, as evidenced by the captivating widdling that introduces instrumental number ‘Crystal Suite.’ Lindqvist’s nimble fingered presence is a constant throughout the album and harks back to a time when every band member was of equal importance and expected to put in a shift. Those expecting a ballad to wave their lighters to will be left wanting, for Enforcer are all about the speed and jacking up the intensity as much as humanly possible so we are left with the polished stomp of ‘Silent Hour/The Conjugation’ and the kinetic maelstrom of ‘Satan’ to close an album that already has ‘Instant Classic’ stamped all over it.
Over in barely 35 minutes, so there’s absolutely no chance of your attention wandering, Enforcer have left their rivals in the dust with one of the most insanely enjoyable and filler-free records you will hear in ages. “Death By Fire” is of a standard so high, it’s hard to see it being bettered anytime soon, and with the old guard starting to look a tad weary, the future is without doubt in safe hands with the likes of Enforcer. You need this in your life.