When it comes to modern thrash metal, Enforced are currently the kings of all-out aggression.
Since forming in 2016 they have been brandishing their DIY ethic across the globe. The release of their first album “At the Walls” in 2019 really showed the scene what’s up & their follow up 2021’s “Kill Grid” showed they have nothing to prove, by being the best thrash record of the year & a huge stamp on the new wave of bands recently signed to Century Media.
Now after extensive touring around the world with the likes of Obituary, Gatecreeper and Municipal Waste the band has come back with their follow up to “Kill Grid” the lean & mean “War Remains”.
Ten tracks of the band’s most focused, fast & aggressive music to date! And at a quick 32 minutes, it trimmed the fat of “Kill Grid” by a whole ten minutes.
Right from the opening few seconds “Aggressive Menace” grabs you by the throat. Now fancy intros here, just kicking down the door to punish with heavy music.
Already by the first few seconds the album is more raw & gruelling.
Vocalist Knox Kolby feels like he’s even more pissed off than on “Kill Grid”. His vocals feel front & centre. They sit nicely in the overall music of the tracks. His vocal cadence has alway been a big highlight for the band & here it’s nice & heard well.
The riffing sounds more organic too, guitarists Will Wagstaff & Zach Monahan since the bands inception have been able to write catchy & hooky thrash licks that stand out but on “War Remains” they have saved their best for the whole album. Their best song writing to date.
The opening of “The Quickening” sets the standard nicely. The interplay with the main guitar riff with Alex Bishop’s tribal floor tom work chops up the intro nicely before the whole band release into the blistering meat of the track as Kolby unleashed his spiteful venom all over the chaos ensuing. These guys really know how to build the intensity of a track nicely & bring it back around with a riff you can easily bang your head to as the track draws to a close.
The standout two tracks on the album run back to back, title track “War Remains” & “Mercy Killing Fields” are great midpoint album tracks. “War Remains” strips back the speed enough to still keep your pulse high but like “Kill Grid’s” title track moments of classic Slayer & Integrity seep in.
Bassist Ethan Gensurowsky’s thick & heavy tone gives a nice layer under the guitars on this track to keep the train rolling & adds a nice element to it. A more “mid paced” track, but for me it’s full of signature writing techniques the band use well. Stop / starting riffs, big open bar chord hits & little riff flourishes Wagstaff & Monahan are so great at.
Now for “Mercy Killing Fields”, for me the “heaviest” track on the album. This song has a huge balls out swagger to it. A lovely Bolthrower meets early Sepultura sound. Kolby feels finally let off the leash with this track. The subject matter of the track being very close to him personally gives his performance just that more behind it. Little uses of multi track vocals as well as ripping lead guitar work makes this track an all out warfare of a song. Not to mention the bridge section that is just so heavy & hypnotic you will head bang so hard you’ll need to see a chiropractor right after! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
The best part of “War Remains” is even in the deeper parts of the album each track stands alone so well. When choosing singles for the album the band could have honestly chosen all 10 they are that good, uniquely different to each track & are that catchy & memorable.
“Ultra Violence” , one of the band’s said singles, is just a great just over two minute circle pit anthem. Fitting perfectly to its song title it’s a fast, high paced track that shows off a brilliant solo from Wagstaff & his ability to treat each solo he chooses to play a standout one!
“War Remains” is the perfect follow up to “Kill Grid”, it’s a more focused, stripped back album. Still featuring moments of growth but this album feels more lean, mean & pissed off. A raw slab of thrash that grabs you with both hands & doesnt let go until its final moments. Some of the bands best music to date & the best thrash album of 2023.
War Remains is out via Century Media on 28th April 2023