Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Enforcer – From Beyond

Swedish metal band Enforcer has long been hailed as one of the best traditional heavy metal/speed metal groups of the past decade, and rightfully so. There’s no denying “Diamonds” is one of the most impressive records in recent years, and though I was a bit let down by the still solid follow-up, “Death By Fire”, the band’s fourth record, “From Beyond”, shows them re-ascending to the heights of speed metal supremacy. Stylistically, it doesn’t differ from the band’s formula to this point: charged-up NWOBHM riffs, melodic vocals that have an edge to them, great guitar solos and loud bass. With that said, the band does add just enough to their sound on “From Beyond” to keep things interesting. The best example of the band’s exploration is the title track. This song gives of a huge Cauldron vibe, partially because of the galloping verses, but also because it has a hypnotic and mesmerizing chorus. It doesn’t feel as upbeat as the rest of the album, but it adds a more mysterious feel to the record.

Beyond the title track, the rest of the album is filled with future classics. “Undying Evil” is the obvious winner upon first listen. It is one of the best examples of the bands riff-writing abilities, especially some of the post-chorus riffs that make use of chords with different intervals from a standard power chord, which adds just a little bit more dissonance. “Destroyer” is the album’s opener, and it’s just as fast-paced and brutal as you would expect Enforcer to get. As the album goes on, the band continues to find ways to pull out classic riffs. The best example comes in “Hell Will Follow”. You’ll know it when you hear it (when the band slows down a bit on this song), as it’s one of those riffs that is so 80s that you can’t help but smile and bang your head when you hear it. It’s almost as if Diamond Head or Angel Witch took over the writing. Similarly, "The Banshee" opens with some serious Mercyful Fate worship before morphing into a more unique and catchy tune.

From Beyond” is also interesting because it shows vocalist Olof Wilkstrand getting a bit more adventurous in his approach. He’s always been a good singer, but songs like “Below The Slumber” and the aforementioned title track offer him opportunities to try new sounds. Surprisingly, he actually takes a bit of a rougher tone at times, rather than moving to an even cleaner sound. This is another great example of how Enforcer is advancing their sound through small steps rather than making drastic changes to the band. Ultimately, “From Beyond” approaches the greatness that was captured on “Diamonds”. While it isn’t quite as strong, it is definitely a step up from “Death By Fire”.

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"Undying Evil"
"From Beyond"
"The Banshee"

Final Rating
4.5/5 or 90%. 

Written by Scott 

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