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Enforcer – Live by Fire II Award winner

Enforcer
Live by Fire II
by Jean-Francois Poulin at 20 March 2021, 12:47 PM

ENFORCER is a Heavy/Speed Metal band from Stockholm Sweden. It all started as a one man project by Olof Wikstrand and turned full-fledged band in 2004. This live album was recorded in Mexico City during the ‘’Zenith’’ world tour back in Autumn and Winter of 2019. This is also the second time they do a ‘’Live by Fire’’ live album after the release of an album, the first live album came out back in 2015.

ENFORCER is somewhat of an anomaly, their studio sound is exactly like something from a live setting. Their sound is so organic and it does sound like they are doing a liver album each time to go in the studio to record a new album. The sound has this boundless frantic energy and it reverberates throughout their recordings. I don’t know many bands that have that it factor when they record but these guys knock it out of the park each time.

I only discovered ENFORCER back in the summer 2019 because of two of my best friends, Sébastien and Josée spoke about this band they saw on the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise earlier in the year. I was obviously curious because their suggestions about bands I should look into has been pretty spot on. Their style of heavy Speed Metal with tinges of 80’s Hard Rock definitely was a crowd pleaser and I became an instant fan. I was able to see them on my 38th birthday in September 2019 with Sébastien and Josée and they delivered an awesome energetic show that remains one of my favorite moments of a year full of trials and tribulations.

I have not seen a tighter band in the Speed Metal world than ENFORCER, you can see the amount of hard work and countless hours they have put in the studio rehearsing day after day, night after night. The rhythm section is on point and Olof Wikstrand delivers a flawless vocal performance on this live album. He is as good, hell, I would say he is better live than in the studio. You don’t have overdubs, production upgrades and fancy computer gadgetry to get the album sound better, this is a totally organic effort. They do not need those things to sound great and that deserves a lot of respect. What is worse than a live album that has been tinkered from here to Sunday?

Even if you don’t know the band, this album is a great starting point to discover them. It’s a live album that has songs from all their past material and obviously the focal point is on the ‘’Zenith’’ album. I know it’s an album that has divided fans out there but I thought it was a nice change of pace and they tried new things. Some say that the band jumped the shark and the backlash has been evident because of a more commercial sounding album but I will always appreciate a band trying something like this, because you can’t always remain in the status quo. I think the songs sound better in a live setting because of that raucous live crowd that goes absolutely berserk at times. In a world of les and less live albums, ENFORCER breaks through with another exciting and refreshing album. It sounds great, the production is top notch and the band is as tight as ever.

The tour was an intense one, they pretty much did a show a day for months, with almost no breaks and this does not deter them of putting in a majestic and masterful performance. They don’t show any signs of slowing down even with that grueling schedule and this is by far one of the very best Live Speed/Heavy Metal albums of the last two decades. I loved the first ‘’Live by Fire’’ but this is actually even better, which is no small task I tell ya!

A live album that is full speed ahead, it does not pull any punches and their live set really evoked an emotional response and outpouring of love from the Mexico crowd. A great live album but an underrated gem of a band.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
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
Lineup:
Jonathan Nordwall - Guitars
Tobias Lindqvist – Bass
Olof Wikstrand – Vocals and Guitars
Jonas Wikstrand - Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records
     


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