ENFORCER – Live By Fire II

ENFORCER - Live By Fire II
  • 8.6/10
    ENFORCER - Live By Fire II - 8.6/10


Label: Nuclear Blast
Release date: March 19, 2021

User Review
10/10 (1 vote)

Many of the people who love attending live music performances sure like to talk about their experiences. There is a lot to talk about, after all: how awesome (or sometimes quite the contrary) the headlining band was and how cool the supporting acts were, how terrible the sound quality was or if any new friendships were made on that day. Vast majority of Rock and Metal fans love to share what they have to say and are not bothered by questions that concern the live shows they were lucky to be at. Lately, however, there has been one rather innocent question that might bring the keenest gig attendants to sheer tears or simply be enough of an excuse to open another bottle of bourbon, rum or whatever one might feel like getting wasted on at the given moment. That seemingly innocent question is: when was the last time you went to a gig?

Those who need gigs in their lives just like Lemmy needed his Jack Daniel’s with coke might not take being asked that question very well at all. Not having been to a live show for over a year sure feels beyond depressing. There are, however, some bands that clearly seem to be clairvoyant to some extent. One of those bands is the Swedish Metal quartet called Enforcer who happened to have toured the world just before the CoVid-19 pandemic turned everyone’s life upside down. As if they knew what the world was in for, they decided to record one of their shows that took place in Mexico City and release it a year and a half later. Here is Enforcer with their live album Live By Fire II.

One thing about the band that is really noteworthy is the fact they once said in an interview that they are old school by no means. They quickly expanded their answer by explaining that Heavy Metal is not old school – it is just timeless. And if that is something for them to abide, then Live By Fire II is one of the best proofs: it does not happen every day that one gets to hear a band that can bring a dozen of other bands from the past decades to mind and yet sound fairly original and unique. But that’s just what Enforcer happen to be.

So to proceed to the actual point of this review, Live By Fire II is an hour and a half of high speed, high energy and high quality Metal. The band’s singer/guitarist Olof Wikstrand can make the listener think of very various singers: this includes some immaculate voices such as Michael Kiske (Helloween), John Oliva (Savatage) or Paul Di’Anno (ex-Iron Maiden) in his prime, but also someone like Dee Snider (Twisted Sister). No, he may not sound anywhere near the Glam Metal icon, but his way of interacting with the audience can easily make the listener think of the shows Twisted Sister would deliver. It certainly does feel good to see that the legendary singers of the ‘70s and ‘80s do have some quality successors who hopefully are going to keep the Metal scene seething with rage for the next couple of decades.

Fortunately, it is not just the vocals that make Enforcer such an amazing live act. It is literally every single member who does an amazing job. Those who care about the drums a lot may find themselves in love with the song “Searching For You” which happens to be the second track on this album. A combination of not excessively heavy Speed Metal with noticeable influences of such drums legends as Clive Burr or Tommy Lee is something one just shouldn’t say no to. There is also a lot of positive stuff to be said about the bass. “Undying Evil”, “Mesmerized by Fire” and “One Thousand Years of Darkness” which were tracks number 3, 8 and 9 on the Setlist are something fans of bass might want to turn the volume up just a bit more in order to enjoy those beautiful fills. The bass lines are really tight and solid overall; they’re not unnecessarily oversaturated with extra notes, and yet they are not simple either. All of that topped with fast and dynamic guitar riffs, harmonies (especially the one in the 14th track “Take Me out of This Nightmare” is a proper kick) and solos. Apart from several songs not being as exciting as the rest – “boring” is still not a proper way of putting it – this album is full of old school (or timeless, actually) Speed and Power Metal madness. Power Metal before it became all about slaying dragons and taming unicorns, that is. If there is a song on this live album that deserves a distinction, it probably should be “Run for Your Life” which ironically happens to be the track number 13. This mix of the early ‘80s Metallica and Savatage from the Power of the Night Era sure is something fans of Metal from across the globe may start digging properly before the song is even through. To put it shortly: Live By Fire II is an absolute killer of a live album and is more than worth checking out.

If one thing can be added as a conclusion: live performances need to be allowed again as soon as possible because Enforcer is very much what the world of Metal has been waiting for. Graspop, Bloodstock and Wacken better get ready!


  • Miłosz Mikołaj Nizioł

    Miłosz is a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He was born somewhere in Europe and now lives elsewhere in Europe. Miłosz is a writer and it has always been his passion. Aside from that, Miłosz is also a bass player - back in his UK days he played in various bands, some of which made it to have their place in the history of Metal; this includes an English high speed Thrash Metal act Rager that got mentioned in Contract in Blood: A History Of UK Thrash Metal (Glasper, I., 2018).   When enjoying live music as a member of the audience, Milosz never says no to circle pits and a good wall of death. Besides Metal, Milosz has a very wide range of interests that don't need to be specified here since they're not about Metal. One of them can be, actually: Milosz LOVES coming up with parodies of various songs lyrics.   Milosz's Top 25 bands (in the following order) are: The Beatles Deep Purple & Black Sabbath Queen ]v[ E G A D E T ]-[ (until 24.05.2021, but still) Judas Priest Iron Maiden (first three albums mostly) Twisted Sister Mötley Crüe KISS (preferably with Ace and Peter) Exodus Overkill Pantera Rainbow (and DIO of course) Savatage Running Wild Testament Pink Floyd ABBA Red Hot Chili Peppers Death Dire Straits Alestorm Motörhead

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