For the modern metal listener whose sensibilities perhaps lie more in the sounds of the eighties, Enforcer has been a consistent treat for over a decade. Their latest album further explores the possibilities of putting a contemporary twist on established genres with often surprising results.
The sweeping guitar work and high-octane vocals that have been the group’s hallmarks over their last four studio releases are back and in full gear. This time though it seems as though the production has taken a step up, particularly on Olaf Wilkstrand’s singing performance. There are synth vibes to what he’s doing that may well put the listener more in mind of the glam and hair metal scenes of the recent past than the underground, thrashy punk which Enforcer have been known to explore. Particularly noteworthy is the epic ‘Regrets’, which combines piano and vocals to an almost Freddie Mercury level of grandiosity.
At times you may find yourself reminded of other artists. ‘The End of a Universe’ has strong Metallica intonations, particularly in its rhythm reminiscent of Ride the Lightning classic ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’. On the whole, however, Zenith does well to toe the line between pastiche and twenty-first century metal in a way so often squandered by revival artists.
‘Ode to Death’, the final track on the record, is a magnificent work. The crescendo to which the whole album builds. From clean guitars in its ambient opening to tempestuous, full on metal cacophony at its peak, this is a standout number that may well become a live favourite for Enforcer fans going forward.
For those who enjoy the metal revival movement, and indeed anyone with an appreciation for great guitar work and a fresh addition to a well established canon, this album is most definitely worth a listen or two.