US based Heavy Artillery - "The new force in old school metal" is well-known for representing the best of the new thrash and retro high grade contenders. Such honest and appealing acts as Merciless Death, Exmortus, and soon At War fulfill their roster! Their latest offering is Sweden's own Enforcer, who also include vocalist Olof Wikstrand of Oppression. This band is exceptional and have become part of the Stormspell Thrashclash Series sharing a split with Chicago's own youthful Diamond Plate, who opened for Sabbat in the spring.
Enforcer provided two songs to the Speed Kills Again Compilation last year which included cuts from Toxic Holocaust (now signed to Relapse), and Avenger Of Blood, no longer on the label. The two hits are both included on this turgid, but terse full length. They are 'Mistress Of Hell' and 'Evil Attacker'. Both slices of power and might have been beefed up, with some saucy solos.
Enforcer are true Power Metal in the '80s sense. One cannot help but hear the best of Metal Blade's elite from twenty years ago. Given some of the song titles on on this album, this is obviously no coincidence. Bands like Attacker, Savage Grace, Helstar, Nasty Savage, Omen, come to mind. Sadly, those bands who are still active today, endure as a pale comparison to their former selves. Thankfully, Lizzy Borden remain loyal to Metal Blade and their trademark elements as American Metal's Masters Of Disguise.
Enforcer embrace the US Metal sound with hints of the Northern borders of Canada, all inclusive. Razor and Exciter as obviously an influence, as well. The song structures are very mellifluous and melodious. That whole NWOBHM is recaptured in its purest essence. The speed and intensity of 'Speed Queen' 'On The Loose', or 'Scream Of The Savage' recall the glory of what mettle meant to those of us fortunate enough to have lived and cherished the music being created in the mid-'80s.
Enforcer share the magic and majesty of their country mates Portrait, although that band are pure Mercyful Fate fanatics. Olaf's high pitch wail whines like banshees in heat. Perhaps this is why the titillating cover artwork entices with those hellish mistress of pain and pleasure. The guitar hyperactivity of DD Sars sears and rips right into your chest cavity. This is some serious pounding metal!
The only downside to this excursion 'Into The Night', besides it's dated approach; which I find refreshing and exilarating, is the meager length of 35 minutes. Twenty years ago, especially with the influx of vinyl, this was acceptable. Today, in a digital age, this is less than sufficient. Only nine tracks, one of which is an instrumental, may not motivate one enough to make a purchase. Although, Merciless Death have released the equivalent of an EP, each year, and old school die-hards consume in droves.
As for me, I love this style of Metal. Enforcer are the best Heavy Artillery has to offer. If you cherish bands like Wrath from Chicago, Hades, Obsession and Toxik from New York, and if you appreciate the nod to the old school epitomized by Overkill and Death Angel, invest your time, and energy into Enforcer.