Company: Heavy Artillery Release: 2010 Genre: Traditional, Power Reviewer: EC
A fantastic output
Wow, these true metal acts are really getting into the thick of it now. Most recently this year I've had the fortune of jamming new releases from Cauldron, White Wizzard and Skull Fist. Last week I was turning up Steelwing's "Lord Of The Wasteland" and Phantom X's "This Is War". What a great era to be a metal fan!
One of the "pegged" future stars is Sweden's Enforcer, a talented five-piece that recalls NWOBHM, the time frame when twin guitar ruled the tundra and every denim jacket was adorned with Maiden, Saxon and Priest patches. "Diamonds" is the band's sophomore effort and really sees the men capturing that New Wave sound with more velocity and sheer studio perfection. The record was produced by Rikard Lofgren, an up-and-coming producer who has worked with Sparzanza and Deathstars in his Leon Music studio. Lofgren really gives the release a "Martin Birch" job, evening the guitars and providing an adequate battery that really thumps and has some up-front bass. It is this production job that sees Enforcer capitalize on their sound, really starting to put together more even songs and structures. Lofgren worked with the band on debut "Into The Night", a record that really focused on a traditional-meets-thrash vibe that didn't work for me personally. The album met with much critical acclaim and I think the feedback helped the group become more serious this go around.
Fans of Iron Maiden's production will surely like Enforcer, but the band compares to the underground acts of the early 80s. "Diamonds" reminds me of the Ostrogoth-Grim Reaper-Wildfire-Oz sound, a good bit of NWOBHM as well as the less talked about New Wave of Belgian heavy metal. Vocalist Olof Wikstrand lets it fly on opener "Midnight Vice", a straight forward romp with plenty of axe-antics that is rich in 80s's atmosphere, layered vocals and a charging gallop. Wikstrand can hit some highs but has a nice mid-level range that appeals to me. He uses that voice to punctuate "Running In Menace", a German power metal sound that is rich with hook ala Accept and Scorpions. The group even gets a bit thrashy on "Katana", recalling moments of the debut with an improved formula.
Overall this is just a fantastic output and sees Enforcer living up to expectations. I would still like to see the group become more mature with their songwriting. I think having "Roll The Dice" and "High Roller" on the same disc indicates some writing improvement is in order. Put Enforcer right along side Cauldron and Skull Fist as the leaders of this genre for now.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.
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