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Enforcer
Diamonds

Company: Heavy Artillery
Release: 2010
Genre: NWOBHM, Traditional
Reviewer: Vinaya

  • Less emphasis on speed and energy and more on simple, classic metal songcraft



  • Swedish traditional metallists Enforcer knocked the metal community (or a small, fortunate segment thereof) on its collective arse with their 2008 full-length debut, Into the Night. With power metal having long settled into a comfortable formula and other tradition-based rock and metal subgenres becoming too imitative and simply safe, that album was a refreshing break from business as usual, combining classic Priest and Maiden-derived European-style metal songcraft with the meter-mashing speed and energy levels of early thrash and, er, speed metal. After witnessing the band (plus Canadian kindred spirits Cauldron and others) tear it up in a tiny New England barroom on the tour in support of that album, I was keen to hear what the band would do next.

    For those who welcomed the constructively destructive cranium blow that was Into the Night, the band's brand new follow-up effort Diamonds will likely be a bit of a surprise. One thing that made Into the Night stand out was the ludicrously fast pace maintained throughout most of its nine songs. Thus, some may find it puzzling to hear that Diamonds, for the most part, lowers the intensity level (to human levels, basically), with less emphasis on speed and energy and more on simple, classic metal songcraft.

    Vocalist extraordinaire Olaf Wikstrand's banshee wail is every bit as awesome as it was on Into the Night, and in fact manages to become both more piercing and simultaneously more melodic in places. Meanwhile, the guitars of Adam Zaars and Joseph Tholl have gotten even more rustic and old-fashioned sounding, as if they have been recording with even older amps than before, their riffs and solos also becoming considerably less manic in the process. So gone for the most part are the balls-out, pedal-through-the-floor speedsters like the debut's "Speed Queen" and "Mistress from Hell." In their place are less intense but still enjoyable nuggets like "Roll the Dice," "High Roller" and the destructive party vibe of opening cut "Midnight Vice," which surprisingly manage to recall the naďve but exciting and fun vibe you garnered from long-forgotten British and European acts such as Dark Star, Torch, Trance, the diabolic Oz and maybe even Ethel the Frog.

    Honestly, the reduced intensity and cleaned-up guitar tones had me a bit underwhelmed after the relentless axe attack of the band's debut. But as I sit and listen to it, I begin to find the kinder, gentler Enforcer an almost equally welcome proposition, marveling at the band's newfound ability to put a fresh topspin on yesteryear's underground classics as well as the speedier, thrashier fare that clearly inspired their debut. Now, if they could somehow combine the vibes of these two albums next time around (basically injecting the Diamonds sound with a shot of Into the Night-style energy), that could make for one killer metal feast.


    About this Writer:
    Vinaya Saksena // Vinaya is either a writer who dabbles in guitar playing, or a guitar player who dabbles in writing. A Maximum Metal staffer since 2004, he has also served as a reporter for several newspapers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Although his obsession with music is such that it does not allow time for much else by way of hobbies, he also enjoys traveling, trivia, photography, British comedy and the occasional A-Team re-run.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: ENFORCER
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Death By FireEnforcer
    2013
    Eric Compton6/1/2013
    DiamondsEnforcer
    2010
    Vinaya Saksena8/3/2011
    DiamondsEnforcer
    2010
    Eric Compton6/25/2010
    From BeyondEnforcer
    2015
    Vinaya Saksena8/4/2015
    Into The NightEnforcer
    2009
    Raising Iron8/28/2009


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: ENFORCER
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Death By FireEnforcer
    2013
    Vinaya Saksena6/23/2013
    From BeyondEnforcer
    2015
    Greg Watson6/17/2015


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: ENFORCER
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


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