Friday, 4 September 2009

[ALBUM REVIEW] Enforcer - Into the Night

1. Black Angel
2. Mistress from Hell
3. Into the Night
4. Speed Queen
5. On the Loose
6. City Lights
7. Scream of the Savage
8. Curse the Light
9. Evil Attacker

I must admit that at first I was pretty skeptical of these guys. Thinking, "Ah this will just be another forgettable thrash act hopping on the 'new age of thrash' bandwagon. Far from it in fact. This four- piece hail from Sweden, and they wear their influences on their sleeves. If you imagine what you would get from the spwan of Exciter, 'Kill Em All' era Metallica and Cloven Hoof then you may be coming close to what these guys sound like, with more emphasis on the Exciter comparison than the others.

The album couldn't start off in a better way, opening with a short bit of noodling on the bass and then tearing straight into a vicious riff which obliterates all sense of doubt about this quartet. The first thing I noticed was that the vocals were very high-pitched, akin to that of Dan Beehler of Exciter fame, although not quite as rough. In fact these guys might as well be Exciter mark II, and that's definitely not a bad thing. We then get a taste of what's to come around the 2:10 mark, a pure face melting solo, something the new breed of thrash bands are missing: good fucking honest solos. Next song, 'Mistress from Hell' appeared on the 'Speed Kills' compilation released by Heavy Artillery in 2007 along with labelmates Warbringer, Avenger of Blood, Hatred and Toxic Holocaust. With the exception of Toxic Holocaust, this album destroys everything any of those other bands have ever done. The current version of the song is far better produced and beefier than the original version. The title track continues in the same fashion as before and you will find it hard to resist the temptation to shout along to the chorus. Catchy is an understatement. "Speed Queen" ploughs in about as subtle as a fist to the face, and to be honest, if you even tried to headbang to this song you'd end up contracting a brain aneurysm, it's that fucking awesome. The next song, "On the Loose" would probably be my favourite on the album if I had to pick one. It is the slowest song on the album, although that isn't saying much. It is a bit more rocky, less chaotic than the rest of the songs, and sounds a bit like something Cloven Hoof would have produced in their early career, instrumental- wise anyway. The chorus here is so infectious it's not funny. Why can't all modern speed metal be this good? Next up is 'City Lights', an instrumental, and also the longest song on the album. It reminds me a lot of 'Transylvania' at the beginning, and has a very NWOBHM sound to it, sounding pretty much like something Iron Maiden could have easily come up with, only a slight bit faster. At the end the song slows down, and all emphasis is on the lead guitar which closes out the song. I tend to find most instrumentals boring, but definitely not this one. "Scream of the Savage" easily sounds as if it an outtake from "Kill 'em All" . Second last song "Curse the Light" continues as before with some great vocal lines, and half way through we get what is probably the best solo of the album. Closer "Evil Attacker" is pure unrelenting thrash. If this doesn't even get a slight bit of vertical motion from your neck then you should just revoke your metal licence and stop listening to metal altogether.

One of the first things I noticed about this album is that the bass plays a very prominent role. It is much more audible than in most thrash outfits today, and it doesn't just follow the guitars either, the bass is actually allowed to do it's own thing for once as well as provide a foundation for the rest of the music. Steve Harris seems to be a big influence on Joseph's playing, which utilises the 'galloping' sound alot, but instead of just ripping him off, he adds his own unique touch to the playing as well, creating some very interesting bass lines.
The drums are also well-executed, and keep well away from being repetitive.
The vocals also need mentioning. Much different from that of their peers, as mentioned before, Olof Wikstrand's vocals are very high pitched and are the forefront of the music, ranging from mid range to falsetto. And not forgetting the infectious choruses.

The album is an unrelenting onslaught of destructive riffs; every single one makes you want to headbang along, and every single solo is very well thought out and executed, something that thrash metal these days is severely lacking in.

So dig out your air guitar, stick on a pair of drainpipe jeans, Nike Hi-Tops and sleeveless shirt, and do yourself a favour and obtain this album at all costs, as it is the best thing to come out of the new thrash scene yet. No, it isn't in anyway original, but hell, what is these days anyway? What it is, is a blitzkrieg of pure neck-wrecking, vigourous speed/thrash metal and if you're a fan of bands such as Exciter, Agent Steel and Razor then you'll love these speedsters. My personal album of the year.



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