Last Updated on 11:32 PM by Giorgos Tsekas
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Arvika Sweden, finest Enforcer return after 4 years with a new album. It’s the 6th studio album within these 15 years since the release of their debut full length (just for the record the band was created in 2004 as a solo project by multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and songwriter Olof Wikstrand, so Enforcer actually began as a one man band). Personally speaking, these guys are the biggest “what if” of their generation, the band that back then I had bet my money on (and certainly would bet once more if I could turn back time) as the next big thing. I would definitely though get broke (twice) as 10’s and definitely 20’s turned not to be made for leather, hi-tops and sleeveless t-shirts metal bands. But I can’t recall any time where denim and leather were popular and not a pariah -even in the glorious 80’s- while I can’t remember what the Swedes did or didn’t to become huge as musicians in order to use the “what if” in their case. They came up with something that all metal bands need to be loved by young and older fans; great live performances, great songs, hype, attitude, cult status, while them special fellas to hang out with (no diva or rock stars here). In any case, I don’t think they will ever make it to Wacken or any other big festival, at least not as headliners. Surely, we are not here to talk about their career as we have to chat about their new album, “Nostalgia”. I just thought that it would be fair to say a couple of words for one of the most decent bands of the last 15 years in terms of song crafting and bearing their own personal stamp. “Nostalgia” is also the most honest title I’ve seen for years. Many bands play this card of the golden era atmosphere or inspiration from, many bands try to hit on the memories of their fans or rewrite some of their most famous or well-known tracks; a sort of best of, but they call it back to the roots. Well Enforcer calls it by its name: Nostalgia. And they do it in a very classy way. Actually, they have managed to build a kind of musical bridge that connects their early days with their last effort, before “Nostalgia”. So, there are many elements that we have heard before, although given under a new prism. A more mature look if you prefer as now Enforcer have shown us what they are capable of doing while moving so easily from speed to arena rock and then back to obscure heavy, from Scorpions-like 80’s era hymns to N.W.O.B.H.M. and from proto-Thrash to power ballads. Nostalgia offers this kind of plethora and variety that makes the final result tempting, rich and substantial. Ok my cup of tea are “Demon”, “Kiss Of Death”, “Coming Alive”, the cheesy “Metal Supremacia” (in which they give a small present to their Spanish speaking aficionados as they use lyrics in Spanish), “At The End Of The Rainbow”, “When The Thunder Roars (Cross Fire)” (that brought me in mind some memories from 2008’s “Into The Night”) and “Unshackle Me”, as the guitar-driven Speed/Heavy side of Enforcer is still more alluring to my ears. But I can recognize how well-crafted are songs like “Heartbeats” or “No Tomorrow” that would fit perfectly in 2010’s mega album of Enforcer “Diamonds” and damn I love them. “White Lights in the USA” is the kind of song that European bands used to write back in the 80’s before transcending the Atlantic, with big choruses and big dreams, just like Def Leppard before leaving Sheffield for eternity would write. “Keep the Flame Alive” nicks the melody from the 1970’s Incredible Hulk TV show theme “The Lonely Man” and turns to be a guilty pleasure that flirts with The Night Flight Orchestra’s catchiest moments. Last but not least, the title track is a brave to do, catchy high-quality ballad. The album was recorded and mixed at vocalist/guitarist Olof Wikstrand and drummer/keyboardist Jonas Wikstrand‘s own Hvergelmer Studios, where the most recent Enforcer records also first saw the light of day. The production (the entire record was produced and engineered by the band in analogue fashion and with some help from longtime producer Rikard Löfgren) is deeply polished, crystal clear, captures the band’s energy and at the same time all instruments are audible. All 13 album tracks were written between October 2020 and February 2022. The artwork for “Nostalgia” was made by Adam Burke. A must buy for nostalgia lovers of 70’s-80’s era Heavy Metal before sub-genre mania burst out, during the time when arena rock was not a crime and having fun was a major factor for making music.