Album Review: ENFORCED – War Remains

Review by: Olivia Matthews

ENFORCED – War Remains Releasing April 28th via Century Media

‘War Remains’ is the third album from Richmond, Virginia based outfit ENFORCED. This album follows on from 2021’s ‘Kill Grid’ and it is evident that this is a unit fully aware of who they are and what they want to achieve. They have honed in on what was so successful about that album, whilst still keeping their edge.

Of the new album guitarist Will Wagstaff said: “we went back to the most balls-to-the-wall, potentially less polished but with more energy and rawness.” The rawness is definitely there, however this is a band who have toured relentlessly since the end of the pandemic and have truly forged their sound night after night, creating a well drilled unit as a result. “We went after capturing the live energy of the band and that’s what you get. It’s pure ENFORCED.” As someone who is yet to see the band in a live setting, I can only comment on the atmosphere presented in their recorded music, which takes no prisoners with its high levels of energy and aggressive riffing. Whilst there have been no announcements as of yet, I hope to see them when they tour the UK next.

As soon as I heard the first single “Ultra Violence” I knew that this would be an album that was going to deliver. It eases you in with the slow opening of ringing guitars, suddenly the drums stop leaving only the guitar riff for a bar or two before Knox Kolby’s vocals kick in with a genre signature grunt (not quite an OÜGH!) propelling the song forward. Whilst this track appears toward the tail end of the record; it was a good introduction toward the direction of the final product as a heavy, fast, take no prisoners record which melts the face of the listener, leaving them as a resemblance of the album artwork. Furthermore, this song appearing near the end of the record is a testament to the high level of energy that ENFORCED are capable of sustaining.

‘War Remains’ as a whole is crossover Thrash at its finest. This is a concise album with only a 37 minute run time, 4 minutes shorter than their previous record. ‘Aggressive Menace’ comes leaping out the gates with the signature dive bombs and ferocious drums setting the tone and energy for the entire record. The guitar work is precise and to the point adding to the fact that there is not a wasted second on the album.  This is a solid album from front to back, however I have to talk about some standout tracks, bar the three singles that have already been released. ‘Mercy Killing Fields’ brings everything that you would expect from the band as well as a personal lyrical content dealing with the passing of Knox’s cousin. The song features gang vocals in the chorus and a ripping solo to boot. Secondly, ‘Nation of Fear’ is a more groove laden song, with its rhythmic riffing taking you along for the ride whilst still maintaining that signature ENFORCED energy.

In summary, this is an album not to be missed. The mission statement of ENFORCED is to provide “shock and awe onstage and on record”, this mission statement has been achieved on this record, adding upon the previous album ‘Kill Grid’ and refining the sound whilst still keeping the energy. This is a band which you should definitely catch on tour when you can as they are going from strength to strength and will only keep getting better. ‘War Remains’ is out April 28th via Century Media.

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