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This is How Trad-Revival Should Be Played - 88%

__Ziltoid__, October 31st, 2010

In a year that has been pretty disappointing to me overall, one album that has stuck out for me has been Enforcer’s Diamonds. Diamonds is the second effort from Sweden’s Enforcer, and frankly, this is how nu-trad should be played. I’ve been rather unimpressed with bands like White Wizzard. For some reason, I often find the “retro aesthetic” to feel forced more than anything else, but with Diamonds, everything feels genuine.

For starters, this is basically a mix of Iron Maiden and Angel Witch combined with a feel-good, party-hard attitude. The vocals here feel like what the one’s on Angel Witch’s self-titled album should’ve been (and that’s my only gripe with that album whatsoever), with a good ratio of ballsiness to slightly effeminate melody. Not “bad” effeminate, mind you, but that kind of high-pitched, 80s effeminate feeling. Like Vince Neil if he could actually sing and played in a decent band.

Anyway, the vocals take center stage in the first track, ‘Midnight Vice,’ with what has to be one of the catchiest choruses of 2010. That catchy chorus, combined with the general bad-assery of the verse riff and vocal delivery just makes this song click really well. The solo is one of those NWOBHM “shredder” type things, and it works well in the context of the song. One of my favorite parts of the song, however, is the little break before the end where the vocalist (Olof Wikstrand) gets an opportunity to really show off his pipes. This track does an excellent job of starting off the album, and is generally a good example of Enforcer’s more vocal-centric styled songs.

Next up is another favorite of mine, ‘Roll The Dice.’ This song is more focused on a very subtle, yet catchy as hell guitar riff that occurs throughout the verses. Even with another catchy chorus, this as the feelings of being a guitar-oriented song, and the break at the 1:40 mark proves it. Here, we’re presented with a hella catchy riff that leads into a solo, then returns and leads into a faster solo. This isn’t complex by any means, but it’s nicely composed and gives some variety to a genre that almost always sticks to the verse-chorus structure.

Some of the songs here are more adventurous, with ‘Katana’ and ‘Walk With Me’ both being around the six minute mark and having larger instrumental sections. The melodic guitar riffs and leads are really emphasized in this section, and it’s here where Enforcer’s roots are felt most. I could easily see Iron Maiden or Angel Witch writing stuff like this in their early days. Then there’s the instrumental title track which is quite entertaining. There’s no wankery to be found–just a ballsy collection of riffs and solos that works very well together, mixed with some good bass leads towards the end, all with a slow outro.

There are a few tracks that feel filler-ish to me (‘Running In Menace,’ ‘High Roller’), but even then, those are fine slabs of heavy metal that just don’t happen to stand out amongst the rest of the great tracks on this album. Overall, this is one of my favorite releases of 2010, and definitely my favorite release of this trad-revival. IF you want a ballsy, fun, retro-sounding heavy metal album that’s completely true to it’s roots, then Enforcer’s Diamonds is what you’re looking for.

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