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Enforced - War Remains review

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Band: Enforced
Album: War Remains
Style: Crossover thrash metal
Release date: April 2023

01. Aggressive Menace
02. The Quickening
03. Hanged By My Hand
04. Avarice
05. War Remains
06. Mercy Killing Fields
07. Nation Of Fear
08. Ultra-Violence
09. Starve
10. Empire

Worry not — they manage to top the last album.

Having picked up where Power Trip left off, Richmond's Enforced have forced the metal listening masses to sit up and pay attention to them thanks to a blistering punk-infused thrash sound that culminated in 2021's powerful Kill Grid. Realising they are onto a good thing, Enforced needn't fix what isn't broken, except for maybe making War Remains an even more intense album.

Taking the fever-pitch frenzy of kinetic energy of their crossover roots, Enforced combine this with razor-sharp guitar riffs and a bark from hell from vocalist Colby. They create a sound and approach that is likely to gain traction with sceptics, while fans of the band and sound will find themselves putting War Remains on repeat.

There is a surprising amount of variation for a genre oft ridiculed as being one-dimensional, from a mix of tracks that lean into the band's punkier roots à la "Starve" and the title track to the outright ripping "Empire" and "Hanged By My Hand". While the latter two tracks hook you in with addictive riffs, the former two utilize grooves that are guaranteed to see mosh pits form when played live. "Nation Of Fear" drops the intensity, but has a good mid-pace drive to it that allows you to catch your breath, yet not lose your attention.

Enforced have found a sweet spot in their tone that manages to balance rawness with polished power that gets the best out of both worlds: blunt forced trauma with a razor sharp edge. The barbed-wire tone of the guitars give the album and tracks like "Ultra-Violence" a charm that is as violent as it is hypnotic. The hoarse barks of Colby sit betwixt death metal and grindcore, adding another layer to the sonic brute force that make up tracks like "Aggressive Menace".

While the album does have a degree of variation, it will likely be insufficient for those who dislike the band's core sound. Even though they tinker at the edges, they never make wholesale changes that would allow those who dislike the band to view the album from a different perspective. This is only a shortcoming for those that are not fans of Enforced, however. Those who enjoyed Kill Grid will find plenty more where that came from — just what the doctor ordered.

Sometimes progression need only be a refinement of what came before, rather than solely being about big sonic leaps. Enforced take strides in the right direction with War Remains and produce another batch of hard-hitting thrash anthems that will likely see it rank high amongst end-of-year lists.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 8

Written on 23.04.2023 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments: 8   Visited by: 55 users
26.04.2023 - 04:35
Rating: 10
How did they top the last one and this is still just almost an 8 ?? The last was already pretty flawless stuff, cant wait for this
26.04.2023 - 05:59
A Real Mönkey
“They topped their last album!”

Album rating: 7.8

I don’t think you know how ratings here work.

"Change the world. My final message. Goodbye."

~Last words of Harambe, seconds before he was shot, according to child he shielded from gunfire
26.04.2023 - 07:08
omne metallum
Written by A Real Mönkey on 26.04.2023 at 05:59

“They topped their last album!”

Album rating: 7.8

I don’t think you know how ratings here work.

I didn't rate their last album
Just because I'm not listening doesn't mean I don't care
26.04.2023 - 08:49
The average rating of their last album here as of now is 7.7.
26.04.2023 - 10:03
Rating: 7
Maybe he rates their last album lower than the average user rating? Don't really see the issue here
26.04.2023 - 13:00
Written by musclassia on 26.04.2023 at 10:03

Maybe he rates their last album lower than the average user rating? Don't really see the issue here

Even if he doesnt, 7.8 still is greater than 7.7. So I was really just trying to rationalize here. Not seeing any issues either.
30.04.2023 - 15:14
Rating: 8
A Nice Guy
For me this is right up there with Overkill as one of my favorite thrash releases this year.
26.08.2023 - 08:50
Rating: 8
Between Overkill and this one, I will definitely choose this. This is exactly how I want my thrash to sound if I am thinking of a thrash album.
Leeches everywhere.

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