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Enforcer - "Diamonds" (CD)

Enforcer - "Diamonds" CD cover image

"Diamonds" track listing:

1. Midnight Vice
2. Roll The Dice
3. Katana
4. Running In Menace
5. High Roller
6. Diamonds
7. Live For The Night
8. Nightmares
9. Walk With Me
10. Take Me To Hell

Reviewed by on July 17, 2010

"The album sounds like something that might have once lived in Lars Ulrich's New Wave of British Heavy Metal record collection. That's mostly a good thing. "

With "Diamonds," Swedish rockers Enforcer have created an album chock full of 24-karat old school metal of the variety you'd hear as the 1970s ended and the '80s began. The band even recorded the disc in analog, eschewing what it calls "phony modern studio techniques."

That's both a blessing and a curse. The album sounds like something that might have once lived in Lars Ulrich's New Wave of British Heavy Metal record collection. That's mostly a good thing. On the other hand, there's absolutely nothing that sounds current on "Diamonds," giving it a dated feel even though it was released in May of this year. Even the cover art, with its orange, black and red color scheme and shadowy band photo evokes a long-ago time period.

Enforcer's greatest strength lies in its ability to evoke both the songwriting and skills of their idols, who obviously include early Judas Priest. Guitarists Adam Zaars and Joseph Tholl trade riffs, licks and solos in a vintage Tipton-Downing kind of way. Bassist Tobias Lindkvist goes for more of a Steve Harris approach, while singer Olof Wikstrand delivers high vocals in the classic NWOBHM style. Drummer Jonas Wikstrand's got a galloping style that works quite well here, with occasional bursts of Philthy Animal Taylor speed.

It's not just the playing that evokes classic metal, though. Song topics rely on the old standbys of Jack the Ripper ("Midnight Vice"), destructive women ("High Roller") and Satan ("Take Me To Hell"), and generally they straddle the line between homage and cliche. Stuff like the samurai ode "Katana" and "Running In Menace" works best for me, partly because it avoids the been-there-done-that feel that often permeates the rest of the disc. The instrumental title track also stands out for its early-Maiden opening riff, superb solos — including some beautiful bass fills — and excellent drumming.

Enforcer's "Diamonds" succeeds in recreating the sounds and feeling of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal from the late 1970s and early 1980s. It fails, however, at bringing anything new to the table. Still, when an album is this well-played — and, frankly, when the sound it recreates is such a great one — that's not the worst thing in the world.

Highs: Superb playing throughout, with the title track, "Diamonds" especially standing out.

Lows: Over-dedication to recreating '70s sounds results in a dated feel.

Bottom line: Fans of classic metal sounds will enjoy it; others will find it dated.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)