Enforcer – “Live By Fire II” CD / 2LP (Nuclear Blast)
Battle Helm Rating
No stranger to the stage after the first live installment in 2015, “Live By Fire II” is the perfect energiser thanks to its balls out performance blowing the Covid blues away! Recorded in 2019 in Mexico City, the wildness of the crowd attests to the fanaticism of metal fans in Latin America, making them the perfect speed metal audience bar none. Inspired by NWOBHM, Enforcer were formed in 2004 and are part of the NWOTHM (New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal), alongside bands like Evil Invaders, Cauldron and White Wizzard. Allied to True Metal, this Swedish band have made their mark over 5 studio albums, and countless shows where their OTT performances have electrified crowds worldwide. Led by the crescendo vocals of Olof Wikstrand and powered by the turbo charged band, the 17 tracks here don’t hold back as the band slam it to the audience – who roar back in approval only demanding more! As drummer Jonas Wikstrand pounds in, Olof shrills in the power chorus on ‘Undying Evil’, while the crowd chant is immense, possibly at times even louder than the band, as the guitars shred and wail in melodic bliss to keep the air punching ceaseless. After its ominous intro of ‘Bells Of Hades’, the double bass drums unload as do the shredding riffs and strummed bass on ‘Death Rides This Night’, although Olof makes for the perfect contrast in his melodic croons offset by air raid siren screaming although once again, and indeed throughout this superb double live release, it’s the Mexican fans that bring it all home because they are totally mental! Slowing it down to inject the boogie and more melody, ‘Mesmerized By Fire’ still has plenty of chugging gusto and the trade-off between Olof’s soaring soul and the singing Mexican crowd defines what live metal shows are all about in their undying passion, brilliantly echoed by the stirring guitar solos. Going into hard rock mode on ‘One Thousand Years Of Darkness’, the melodies and soul are simply overflowing and the excellent use of power in places only serves to make this a standout number, proving Enforcer’s capability in the song writing department. With Mexico City already singing out their love of the band, ‘Take Me Out Of This Nightmare’ gives them the perfect medium to burst their larynxes, through its galloping Maiden rhythm and strong melodies, capped off brilliantly by some blind lead breaks that sees Olof beckoning the crowd even more through his heartfelt croons in leading up to the classic arena sing aloud backed by Tobias Lindqvist’s bass – unforgettable. Enforcer by name and by no doubt by nature, “Live By Fire II” truly takes it to the boiling point – although it’s definitely the case of Viva Mexico in also doing so!