"Death By Fire"

By Dr. Abner Mality

This album is like a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart of the metal scene. Almost every second of it is crackling with enough energy to power an entire city! Man oh man, what were these dudes ON when they recorded this thing? This is speed metal that will blow your eyeballs out of your head like a cartoon coyote that just got a safe dropped on him!

Enforcer's last album "Diamonds" was a good recreation of pure NWOBHM songwriting, but it sounds like doom metal next to the volcanic blast of "Death By Fire". We get a brief piano intro called "Bells of Hades" and then it is off to the races with "Death Rides This Night". You can feel the energy pouring off this speed metal killer like molten lava, with screaming solos everywhere and high-pitched yelping from Olof Wikstrom. It's cleaner and more melodic than thrash but puts many thrash bands to shame. The pace doesn't let up with "Run For Your Life", either...if anything, it intensifies. And there is very little let up throughout the course of 35 buzzsaw minutes here. The beginning of "Sacrificed" is a little down-tempo and then the song morphs into something like classic German speed metal such as Iron Angel. I thought "Crystal Suite" might be an acoustic breather, but it opens with a Steve Harris-like bass riff that could have come right out of the "Killers" era and turns into a Maiden-worshipping instrumental of power and intensity. Another switch is "Silent Hour/The Conjugation". Opposite to the way most "double" songs work, the opening "Silent Hour" is fast and heavy from the get-go, featuring vocals, while the second part is more of a moody instrumental workout.

This breath-taking sprint ends with "Satan", which again pays tribute to early German metal pioneers such as Running Wild. Needless to say, it's a ferocious high-energy metal blitz ending with a rousing wall of noise. When this album ends, you feel like you just did the triathlon in 35 minutes.

Superbly produced and performed, this is an outstanding metal album that doesn't show much innovation but takes the classic speed metal sound to a new level.