War Remains

I am endlessly picked on in the Teeth of the Divine break room for admitting in a vulnerable moment that thrash is perhaps my least favorite metal sub-genre. So, one might ask why the hell I am reviewing the new Enforced album. Firstly, mind your business. Secondly, I was able to procure it in the break room’s claw machine with the help of Corpsegrinder.

I’ve seen these dudes live a couple of times and have a soft spot for them because of that. Not the kind on a baby’s head you can push in to make a convenient ashtray, but I digress. So, when I start the review, and indeed the album, it will come as no surprise that the first track “Aggressive Menace,” kicks you in the teeth. It has aggression, riffs, a tight solo, and vocals to tie it together. It’s also about 2 minutes.

There are many highlights, but my favorite tracks have ended up being some of the longest. I want to make it clear, that’s all relative, as “longer” to me means 3-5 minutes. Take for instance “Hanged by My Hand.” The main riff is monstrous, the solo is tight, the vocals are fantastic, and the breakdown, as well as a well-placed “ough?” Near crossover perfection of which Allen Iverson would be proud.

It would be my favorite track if it weren’t for the title track, “War Remains.” This track feels heavy because it’s more groove-based, which is something these dudes cook to near perfection. Check out the groove following the chorus at about 2.5 minutes in. Then, the solo follows it perfectly. Jesus Christ, boys. Save some of that energy for the other bands.

This album is no filler. Every track deserves a mention, but nobody has time for that when they could just be banging their heads. While I do like the longer, more groove-oriented tracks, a shorter one like “Nation to Fear” is impossible to resist. I can see myself rocking out to this near the pit. I don’t pit, though. Your boy’s getting to the point where I get “old man respect.”

As mentioned, I could talk about every track, and it was difficult to spotlight only a few, so I’ll wrap this up with the last track, “Empire.” The groove is in the earlier parts of the track, then speed takes over. It also includes perhaps the best solo on an album overflowing with them. They don’t end the album with a boring fade-out or somber instrumental. They just wreck your living room, then they’re out.

When I first started listening to the album, I was bummed it was only 34 minutes, but also ecstatic they didn’t decide to go the route of so many other thrash bands and push the CD length to its limit.  It didn’t stick with me at first, but after several, repeated listens, I enjoy the hell out of it. If you’re a fan of crossover thrash, thrash in general, or just badass songs and albums, you’re going to enjoy this. The hype is justified.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
May 11th, 2023


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