Album Review By Adam McCann
Nuclear Blast Records/Traditional Metal
No band epitomises the return of the traditional metal sound more so than Enforcer and over the last fifteen years, this group of Swedes have released some of the finest material of the time. Albums such as ‘Diamonds’, ‘Death By Fire’ and ‘From Beyond’ have brought traditional metal to the masses and now Enforcer have released their latest album ‘Zenith’.
As a title, ‘Zenith’ may come to bite Enforcer in the arse because this album is highly polarising with a rather large swing in sound from the bands previous work. What ‘Zenith’ offers is a highly polished album that is sleek, smooth and very accessible; within here are tight, professional sounding vocal harmonies and crisp drums that dominate high end production releases. Because of this, ‘Zenith’ has the sound of two eras melding together, with the modern bridging the gap to the 80’s; of course, there are sounds of classic Enforcer here with ‘Thunder And Hell’ and ‘Searching For You’ whilst ‘The End Of A Universe’ hammers out some 80’s sounding synth toms. However, what changes the playing field is how much the band experiment with their sound, the slow burning ballad ‘Regrets’ begins with all the hallmarks of recent Ghost releases before being consumed into a Cheap Trick in their prime power pop song. In fact, this classic vibe runs straight throughout the album, among other pockets of classic rock pleasure such as ‘Zenith Of The Black Sun’ which powers forward before descending into a Dio-era Rainbow style romp. Yet, there is the feeling that Enforcer may have been listening to far too much Ghost as ‘Forever We Worship The Dark’ tears through a disco drumbeat that is coupled to a memorable feelgood chorus containing some singalong whoa whoa whoas.
It is easy to see why ‘Zenith’ is so polarising. There is a huge change in sound here, but it is not unlistenable. Yes, this album is far from Enforcer’s best and takes more than a few listens to get used to, but within it is something that is very enjoyable. ‘Zenith’ may alienate older fans, but the popular, accessibility of this album means that Enforcer have suddenly found a groove that is able to appeal to the masses.
Rating : 77/100
MHF Magazine/Adam McCann