Now there are live albums and there are LIVE albums! Not all are completely live as
overdubs etc in the studio iron out any flaws but to my ears Live By Fire II by Enforcer
sounds as raw as you like as if taken from the sound desk when they played Mexico City in
2019. Formed in Arvika, Sweden in 2014, their take on thrash metal is not reinventing the
wheel but they are breaking the speed limit with their delivery.
This 19 song gig makes you feel like you’re in the front row and it’s a relentless 75-minute
rollercoaster ride as the lengthy intro for Die For The Devil includes a rabid crowd chant of
the band name. The pace picks up with crunching heavy metal full of sumptuous melodies,
helium fueled vocals from Olaf Wilkstrand and shimmering twin lead guitar breaks.
Searching For You is kick-drum driven mayhem from Jonas Wilkstrand that flies along on
raging riffs that only pause for breath during the choruses and more solos fly out fast and
furious off the fretboards of Olaf and Jonathan Nordwall. The vociferous crowd do their best to drown out the band as they chant along throughout Undying Evil and they do a pretty good job of it! It’s all guitar mayhem from dizzying time changes and finger bleeding solos. From Beyond has touches of ‘Thor The Powerhead’ by Manowar in its grooves which is no bad thing for me as the spoken word intro raises the crowd noise levels even higher. Foot on the monitors melodic heavy metal is the main ingredient and a guitar-dominated midsection gains some mighty crowd “whoa oh ohs”. The piano intro of Bells Of Hades is the calm before the storm of the proto thrash Death Rides This Night. Riffs buzz away over another devastating drum assault.
The potent power metal in Zenith Of The Black Sun adds muscle to the bass guitar
bludgeon of Tobias Lindqvist and the laid back verses. Olaf fires up the crowd before they
play Live For The Night asking, “Show me some violence Mexico City. Are you ready to give us some blood tonight? Burn this place to the ground and live for the night“. As if that isn’t enough baiting then the warp-speed thrash is bound to have opened up a turbulent pit. Olaf claims that “This song is gonna take you all to hell and back” as the razor-sharp riffing in Mesmerized By Fire raise the intensity levels even higher.
The main riff to 1000 Years Of Darkness grabbed me from the off as the song chugs along
hard and heavy especially in the fists in the hair raising choruses and it closes on a blistering twin-lead assault. A sumptuous piece of heavy blues comes from the instrumental Guitar Solo/City Lights Jam that shifts up the gears for a head-banging outro. Scream Of The Savage is a surefire banger that hurtles along taking no prisoners in its wake. Another instantly memorable main riff thrashes and slashes towards a neck-breaking midsection and amazingly it gets heavier for the outro. ‘Drum Solo’. These can be boring sometimes and breaks up the flow of the gig but Jonas batters the sh*t out of his kit, point proven by a rabid crowd response. There is no pause for breath as ‘Run For Your Life’ lives up to its title. It’s another devastating drum-driven metal monster. ‘Take Me Out Of This Nightmare’ is a majestic epic that does not overstay its welcome of 7 minutes. Banshee screams from Olaf light the fuse for a ballbusting blast of rage. Choruses are blasted out loud and proud by the crowd and it goes batshit crazy with guitar frenzy and a lung-busting crowd call and response.
First encore Destroyer thrashes with the intensity of early Destruction and is a 100%
certified circle pit opener. Another lengthy song comes from Katana. Abrasive riffing adds
an extra edge to violent thrash metal. They go down the gears midway to allow the crowd to get even crazier and a race to the finish line outro sees them rage even harder and faster! Final track Midnight Vice follows a lengthy rant from Olaf of “Mexico City! What a great f**king pleasure it’s been to come back here to play some heavy metal. We have one more song here or are you tired and wanna go home to sleep? You guys at the back are tired and wanna go to sleep right? You guys at the back love disco and stuff right? You guys in the front, you want another song? You got the Midnight Vice”. It’s my favourite song here as early Maiden NWOBHM vibes dominate and after all this time, Olaf still belts out some unearthly screams!
Words by Dennis Jarman