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Enforcer: Live by Fire II

One of the most important acts of what has been referred to as the "New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal" (or NWOTHM), Sweden's Enforcer have been pumping out retro injected slabs of molten steel for over a decade now. Their style certainly isn't the breath of fresh air it was 10 years ago, as bands have been springing up like crazy since then that have put their own spin on the sound, but Enforcer (in particular main man Olof Wikstrand) have the songwriting chops and the feel-good bouncy riffs that still puts them ahead of the pack at large. With Trial by Fire II, we see the band strut their stuff in a live environment shortly after the release of their most recent (and most divisive) album, Zenith. It was an album that largely slowed the tempos down and added an injection of sleazy glam metal, which in a live environment could be a mixed bag for a band that are often categorized as speed metal. Luckily, the songs benefit from being played on stage, which the band can take as a pyrrhic victory as far as Zenith goes.

Enforcer are a ball of electricity when it comes to their live performances. They sound great on Trial by Fire II, with Olof's soaring and searing vocals giving the band a manic, and energetic boost that keeps everything humming along nicely. The guitar work is also top notch, with razor-sharp riffs and killer melodic solos that really do a good job of evoking the early days of speed metal yore. Loud and prominent bass is a nice bonus as well, and it thumps not unlike early King Diamond, but a hell of a lot faster.

As said earlier, this was recorded after Zenith was released, and all the speed freaks out there can relax because the band consciously chose to pull from the heavier tracks on the album for their performance here. It's a highly energetic affair, and one that is fit for speeding on the highway to. Even the more mid paced tracks on here gain an added edge and propulsiveness thanks to the live experience. Old songs and new alike are well represented here, with classics like "Midnight Vice" bringing up the rear to end everything on a high, memorable note. Aside from a completely unnecessary (when aren't they?) drum solo, it's a nice, tight package.

Enforcer have always been able to deliver the goods live, and this is their second document as proof of that. While at their best when they are delivering their potent alchemical blend of 80's german speed and Motorhead swagger, the slower, more melodic stuff does well for them and shows off that they aren't a one trick pony. Fans will obviously find value here, but even the uninitiated will likely find something to enjoy here, as Enforcer's catchy choruses and melodic guitar work will sink their claws into fans of the more traditional strains of Metal.

1. Die for the Devil
2. Searching for You
3. Undying Evil
4. From Beyond
5. Bells of Hades/Death Rides This Night
6. Zenith of the Black Sun
7. Live for the Night
8. Mesmerized by Fire
9. One Thousand Years of Darkness
10. Guitar Solo/City Lights Jam
11. Scream of the Savage
12. Drum Solo
13. Run for your Life
14. Take Me Out of this Nightmare
15. Destroyer
16. Katana
17. Midnight Vice

Added: April 1st 2021
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 656
Language: english

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