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ENFORCER Zenith

By Alex Yarborough, Orlando Contributor
Friday, April 12, 2019 @ 10:54 AM


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ENFORCER
Zenith

2019 Nuclear Blast




Sweden’s ENFORCER is a leader of the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal (NWOTHM) revival. Their first full-length studio album Into The Night (2008) was followed by Diamonds (2010), Death By Fire (2013), and From Beyond (2015). On April 26th, ENFORCER will release Zenith, their first studio album in over four years. The band’s successful tours with diversified acts like DARK TRANQUILLITY, DESTRUCTION, WARBRINGER, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM and CAULDRON proved ENFORCER could run with the big boys and helped raise brand awareness. The current lineup of ENFORCER consists of Olof Wikstrand (guitar and lead vocals), Jonas Wikstrand (drums, piano, keys), Tobias Lindqvist (bass) and new permanent guitarist Jonathan Nordwall (from LETHAL STEEL).

ENFORCER continue their flirtation with evil on the opener “Die For The Devil”, a nearly pop power metal track, and a diversion from the usual speed metal of their past. There’s no doubt this song is catchy as hell though. You can view the performance video on KNAC.COM HERE. The adjustment toward more commercial songs began on the last album, From Beyond, and is expanded upon on Zenith on tracks like “Sail On”, “One Thousand Years Of Darkness” and “Forever We Worship The Dark”, all of which are more accessible than ever before.

There’s no doubt the band has matured since the last album, as is evident in songs like “Zenith Of The Black Sun” and “The End Of A Universe”. Of course, there are still speed metal anthems like “Searching For You” and “Thunder and Hell”. Out of left field comes a song unlike any they’ve done before, a cover of fellow Swedes TERMINAL and the piano ballad “Regrets”. The choice to include this song should garner some attention; it has a ton of commercial appeal. I was hesitant about this direction at first, but the delivery feels authentic. To be sure, this track is risky and finds ENFORCER wearing their heart on their sleeve. Unlike their other albums, Zenith does not feature an instrumental track. The album ends with its longest song, “Ode To Death”, a nearly seven minute epic featuring many different sections and tempo changes.

The band spent two and a half years writing and recording Zenith. I gave this album a little extra bump in the rating because there are some risky songs here; they have definitely taken some chances. The diversity of styles is remarkable and at times brilliant, but bound to alienate some hardcore fans that only want to hear speed metal. Zenith deserves more consideration than that. It’s ENFORCER’s boldest statement so far.

4.3 Out Of 5.0


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