In recent years crossover thrash has seen a massive resurgence thanks to the popularity of bands like Power Trip and Iron Reagan. It’s not like the genre ever truly died out since its early days, but it’s been great to see the crowds come out in mass and a slew of new groups delivering that type of crunchy, groove dominated riffing alongside sheer speed. One of the relative newcomers is Richmond’s Enforced, who formed in 2016 and have released two demos prior to this year’s At The Wallsfull-length. Where some of the other groups to put out material in this same timeframe haven’t been able to stand out from the pack, Enforced comes out of the gate at an immense level and have the riffs upon riffs that will keep listeners blaring this album for months to come.
Like some of the best in the genre Enforced blurs the lines between thrash and hardcore with ease, delivering that sheer sense of speed and grit while letting heavy grooves sneak in that will make just about anyone want to start an impromptu mosh pit. Where some other bands get bogged down in the breakdowns and slower sections, the instrumentals are focused on speed for the majority of At The Walls and it makes the brisk twenty-six-and-a-half-minute run-time feel like it flies by. There’s no filler to be found here and the band always makes the most of their slower sections, only letting them brood long enough to keep the intensity going as much as possible before doubling down on the speed and ripping your face right off. It’s sure to bring a wide variety of NYHC and thrash bands from the 80s and 90s to mind as you make your way through but Enforced never pulls too closely from one particular playbook and delivers one riff after the next that will make you want to keep moving as you listen. Add in a razor-sharp mix that lets both the guitars and drums work in tandem to pummel you into bits and you’ve got a winner when it comes to this style of music.
Enforced’s vocalist Knox Colby has one of those extremely gruff screaming pitches that only helps to add to the power the band is able to draw upon throughout At The Walls. He’s consistently front and center in the mix and often sounds like he’s bursting out of your speakers and screaming directly at you, which is sure to be all the more appealing for listeners. At times some of his sheer low-end range reminds me of Integrity’s Dwid Hellion, which feels appropriate seeing that Dwid makes a guest appearance on “Skinned Alive”. Colby’s performance seems tailor made for inciting mosh pits of all sizes, be it in a live setting or in condensed format in one’s home.
There’s been more crossover thrash than ever vying for listeners’ attention in recent years but Enforced is up there with the best of them. Similar to how Power Trip swept people up with their riffs upon riffs and non-stop energy these guys channel that same type of spirit and have the staying power that other newcomers in the genre lack. Here’s hoping they stay on this upward trajectory, as I’ll take this type of scorching riffing any time. At The Walls is available from War Records.
-Review by Chris Dahlberg
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