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Enforcer - Live By Fire

Label: Nuclear Blast
Format: CD/DVD
Released: 2015
Reviewed By: Mark Gromen
Rating: 9/ 10


Exciting package from retro-minded Swedish thrashers who will be touring North America, early in the new year. The frenetic pace of these two concerts (8 songs, from Tokyo, on DVD and 15 live tracks, in Athens, Greece + 3 new studio cuts) only hints at the in-club madness. Witnessed it first-hand this summer and honestly, reminded me of early Metallica, without sounding like them. Sadly, both shows are from 2013, thereby devoid of anything off this year's stellar From Beyond.

 

The soaring, high pitched vocals of Olaf Wikstrand, who has doubled on guitar since the sophomore Diamonds, should place Enforcer firmly in the power metal camp, but the dual guitar thrashing belie such simple categorization. Oh, to be young, with enough stamina for such an all-out (no ballads) performance. Even the instrumental 'Crystal Suite' is a blaze of stringed activity, crowd singing "whoa whoa" to the Iron Maiden inspired runs. Always thought the consistent, near falsetto on 'Midnight Vice' taxed the vocals, but the revamped, revved up re-write of Diamond Head's 'Shoot Out The Lights', here christened 'Satan' remains a glorious example of the band hitting on all cylinders. Returning for an encore, 'Black Angel', off the '08 debut, is a surprise (probably won't hear much off that disc on tour), ultimately saying good night with 'Evil Attacker'. Playing in a pair of non-native English speaking lands, there's not a lot of banter between songs (although introducing themselves to the crowd with, "We're here to break your fucking necks!" is quite endearing.

Of the three new tracks, two are originals and there's a cover of Frigid Bitch's 'Tyrants Of Our Generation'. A classical piano infested 'Speak The Tongue Of Heathen Gods' owes more to countrymen/women ABBA than metal. In fact, it sounds like one of the metallic covers on the 2001 tribute issued by their label. A video for 'Stellar Plains' is already all over the Internet. Predominately directed towards the European market, where Enforcer have gigged relentlessly, but if you can secure a copy, do yourself a favor and definitely don't miss these guys live!

 
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