Record Reviews

Album review: Enforcer “Live by Fire II”

Sweden’s Enforcer gives us proper and sweaty heavy metal on the new Mexican live album “Live by Fire II”.

Sweden’s Enforcer is a fantastic heavy metal band that has built its trademark sound on a solid foundation of early 80s NWOBHM and seasoned it with mid-to-late 80s European heavy metal and a small pinch of American mainstream metal. The 1990s and subsequent decades never happened in the world of Enforcer. They have their sound and they’re, thankfully, sticking to it. Enforcer has been led from the front by its main man Olof Wikstrand since the band was founded in Arvika, Sweden in 2004. In the current line-up of the band, in addition to Olof on vocals and guitar, there is his brother Jonas Wikstrand on drums, Tobias Lindqvist on bass and recent addition Jonathan Nordwall on lead guitar. Enforcer is a band that consistently delivers both in the studio and on stage. They have terrific riffs, very strong melodies and more energy than a nuclear power station can produce. “Live by Fire II” is a follow-up to 2015’s “Live by Fire” which featured live recordings from Greece and Japan recorded in 2013. On this new live album, we get the band caught in the moment doing what it does best, performing a heavy metal show in front of an enthusiastic crowd of fans. They open with “Die for the Devil” and the crowd is with them from the first note. We get a splendid best-of set recorded in Mexico City in 2019. The setlist is close to flawless. We get favourites such as “Undying Evil”, “From Beyond”, “Mesmerized by Fire”, “Zenith of the Black Sun”, “Take Me Out of This Nightmare” and much more. The epic speed-metal fast track “Live for the Night” was written to encourage headbanging, air guitar playing and circle pits in the audience. This is a band that knows its metal, it knows how to perform it and how to entertain an audience. The live album has been put together in a terrific way. It has preserved the band very well and not tried to polish things over in the postproduction process. The album rounds off in style with an explosive set of splendid songs: “Destroyer”, “Katana” and “Midnight Vice”. Having seen them live here in Japan in the past, I hope we will get to see this terrific live act on a Tokyo stage again soon.

Enforcer’s “Live by Fire II” will be released on 19th March in Japan via Ward Records and internationally via Nuclear Blast.