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ENFORCED Kill Grid

By Peter Atkinson, Contributor
Sunday, March 14, 2021 @ 9:34 AM


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ENFORCED
Kill Grid

Century Media




While their Richmond, Va., big brothers LAMB OF GOD helped pave the way for the new wave of American thrash metal, ENFORCED seems just fine reveling in the old school. The band’s rough-and-tumble crossover-infused rabble pays homage to classic DRI, CRO-MAGS, NUCLEAR ASSAULT, SACRED REICH, vintage SEPULTURA, etc., but without being overly reverential – a common throwback stumbling block – and with just enough contemporary spin to keep it fresh.

Taking a page from Texas tornadoes, and 2021 Grammy nominees, POWER TRIP - who’s future is sadly in question after the death last August of frontman Riley Gale - ENFORCED blend ample hooks and catchiness with boundless energy and a penchant for velocity. And the quintet really comes into its own on its powerhouse second album.

Kill Grid retains the raw tenacity of the 2019 debut At The Walls, but fleshes it out with greater depth, a modest uptick in variety and a much more substantial package – nine songs and 42 minutes here as opposed to nine and just 27 on Walls. And that’s not to imply it’s all padding or fat. For the most part, it’s meat on the bone.

Walls reveled in its near hardcore simplicity and gusto. Here, ENFORCED offers a generous serving of beefy hooks and grooves, some added complexity in the compositions and a more dynamic presentation. Only one song topped four minutes on Walls. Here, there’s really only two that don’t, the buzz-sawing “Beneath Me” and “Blood Ribbon”, which sneaks under at 3:52. Both deliver nifty staccato riffs that echo Reign In Blood-era SLAYER, “Beneath” amid its balls-out thrash and “Blood Ribbon” during one of the album’s occasional mid-tempo stretches.

The title track serves as a genuinely epic centerpiece. It’s slog-and-sprint crunch echoes SEPULTURA’s “Desperate Cry”, and it’s played out in a deliberate manner that builds off its dramatic intro into something monumental. And it’s pretty awesome, showing a bit of technical flair while delivering a veritable sonic cascade in the process.

But it’s also a one-off here, and “Curtain Of Fire” opens “Side B” of the album by bringing things back to ground with its mighty chug, bark-along vocals and swooping guitar harmonies. And when “Trespasser” closes things out a couple tracks later, you’re neck may be sore from all of ENFORCED’s head-bobbing riff-o-rama.

So there is certainly no shortage of gusto on Kill Grid. It’s just done with a bit more sophistication and guile. Ordinarily that would come from tons of touring, but obviously that hasn’t happened thanks to Covid. So these guys must have done a hell of a lot of practicing in the interim – or something. Whatever it was worked because the band sounds better – or at least heavier, crisper and more confident – all the way around. And Kill Grid kills as a result.

4.0 Out Of 5.0


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