Admittedly I’m a little late to the party on this one. I’ve listened to Enforcer’s Zenith a couple of times since its release on April 26th, 2019, but now I’m finally able to gather my thoughts about it. Immediately at the beginning with tracks like “Die For The Devil” and “Zenith Of The Black Sun,” the band is clearly going for that late ’80s arena rock sound made popular by bands like The Scorpions, KISS, and even Ronnie James Dio and Ozzy Osbourne.
This is a pretty immense change from their previous releases, which was more a mishmash between NWOBHM and early ’80s Thrash Metal. The speed and aggression are stripped back quite a bit for this record, focusing mostly on melody and hooks. There are still some elements of previous albums on songs like “Searching for You” and “Thunder and Hell,” which the latter is Enforcer unveiling themselves at their heaviest and most aggressive they have ever sounded to date.
However, as a fan, this record is an interesting turn, and sometimes one that’s not necessarily for the better. Take a song like “Regrets” for example. It has nothing to do with the fact that it’s primarily a piano ballad. I tend to like those kinds of songs if done right. Unfortunately, it really brings down the momentum of the record quite a bit and proves to be a bit of a snooze fest without much anticipation for anything bigger. I can appreciate the band trying new things and expanding their sound, but I feel like they had an opportunity, and they didn’t quite hit the mark. The middle of the album is definitely where it’s flawed with songs like “To the End of the Universe” and “Forever We Worship the Dark” where there’s a huge case of redundancy, and they lack the variety in which they’re attempting to achieve with this record. By the time it gets to the final track, “Ode to Death” is where the album redeems itself from being totally uninteresting. It serves as a nice conclusion, even if they could’ve cut it back about a minute. However, it’s one I felt should have happened a few tracks ago with the exception of “Thunder and Hell.”
The album clearly shows the band having some tremendous growing pains. Four years is a long time in between records, and for some groups, it works to take that long. However, with Enforcer, this record has a vibe that maybe they spent a little too much time trying to craft it and make it the “perfect” album or to clearly make a statement of change. It fell victim to certain songs just being way too damn long and could’ve served to be trimmed a bit in certain parts. Having time to make a record can either prove to be an advantage like in the case of bands like Testament or Kreator, or it can cause some groups to lose sight of what they’re going for. Unfortunately, it appears to be the latter in this particular case. Maybe the next record will prove to be a continuation of what we hear on Zenith but with a clearer vision, and shorter timeframes.
“Die For The Devil”
“Zenith Of The Black Sun”
“Thunder and Hell”
“Ode To Death”