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EnforcE – Deep Blue

EnforcE
Deep Blue
by Alex Barnard at 16 September 2021, 6:27 PM

ENFORCE is an Australian Thrash Metal band hailing from Perth. “Deep Blue” is the band’s fourth album and its first in 10 years, released independently on January 7, 2021.

This group sounds a lot like CELTIC FROST without nearly as much charm. The riffs are really good and very reminiscent of European Thrash, and Guy Bell’s voice sounds quite a bit like that of the mighty Tom G. Warrior. Additionally, a lot of the production choices on this album sound very similar to those taken on classic albums like “Morbid Tales” and “To Mega Therion.” The drums sound dry and uncompressed yet still pretty heavy, Shaun Neill’s bass has a distinct midrange thump that allows him to stand out in the mix, and the guitars sound fairly fizzy, just like one might expect from Thrash Metal that borders on Black Metal.

So why do I say, “without nearly as much charm?” For one, I feel like Thrash has evolved past the lo-fi production of yester-year. Perhaps it’s an aesthetic choice on the part of ENFORCE, but I really do think that, in 2021, you need better production if you’re going to be making a Thrash album. Moreover, you may be one of those people that is of the opinion that CELTIC FROST’s music is bad because of the poor production. Fine, that is your opinion. However, you would be mistaken if you said that the members of CELTIC FROST were bad musicians.

Now I’m not saying that ENFORCE are bad musicians – you have to be at least halfway decent to write riffs this good. However, a lot of the recorded performances that made it onto this record are really sloppy. Damyz Pettit seems to struggle with keeping a beat on certain tracks, particularly when he employs double kick drumming – instead of using it to define the groove, he tends to fly all over the place. Paul Easson’s soloing is very rushed and meandering, his lead tone is unpleasantly abrasive, and his guitar sounds noticeably out of tune. And there are times when I notice that even the rhythm guitar is offbeat. A perfect example is around the 55 second mark of “Where Did She Go,” where the guitars are so off that I wondered out loud, “how did anyone let this get through onto the actual album?” I get it; sometimes mistakes happen in the studio, but that’s the beauty of recording in the studio – you can always re-record the part you messed up. The fact they didn’t do that here almost smacks of laziness.

Another thing that kind of rubs me the wrong way about this album is this: if you’re going to emulate CELTIC FROST, at least try and make the lyrics a little more serious. The lyrics here remind me too much of those of the so-called “pizza-thrashers” like AXESLASHER and MUNICIPAL WASTE. Now I love those bands, but their style of Thrash is very different from CELTIC FROST. The song “Thrash Attack” is a perfect example of what I’m talking about here. As I said in a previous review, songs that explicitly refer to the genre they are written in were fine in the ‘80s, but we really don’t need them anymore, and the references to dancing in the pit just doesn't really work for the dark music they’ve written here.

Some honorable mentions include “Dark Cloud,” which shows the band paying obvious tribute to early SEPULTURA; “Born of Bloodshed,” which has an excellent, headbanging, triplet groove; and “Death Before Dishonour,” which is probably the closest thing to Black Metal on this whole album.

Overall, I’m conflicted with this record. ENFORCE has packed an album full of excellent riffs and great songwriting, but the execution is so flawed. My suggestion for the band: get a different drummer and start practicing/recording to a click track. And if you make a mistake in the studio, re-record the part; don’t just keep it on the album because you don’t feel like doing it again.

Songwriting: 7
Memorability: 5
Production: 5
Musicianship: 3

 

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Dark Cloud
2. Thrash Attack
3. Where Did She Go
4. Born of Bloodshed
5. Deep Blue
6. Metal United
7. Without Us
8. Death Before Dishonour
9. Deathcore Is My Thing
Lineup:
Guy Bell – Rhythm guitar, vocals
Damyz Pettit – Drums
Shaun Neill – Bass
Paul Easson – Lead guitar
Record Label: Independent
     


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