Hailing from the home of a titanic act like Lamb Of God can’t be an easy thing but Richmond Virginia based Crossover Kings Enforced have set themselves up to deliver something to make their own mark with. Forced from the ashes numerous Hardcore Punk bands in 2017, they grew quickly thanks to support from their local scene and with 2019’s “At The Walls” they showed enough promise to be able to enlist long-time friend and studio maven Bob Quirk (Iron Reagan) to engineer, as well as Philadelphia-based studio whiz Arthur Rizk (Power Trip, Cavalera Conspiracy, Road Mutant) to mix and master while inking a deal with Century Media. The drums were recorded at The Ward, an older and very large recording studio with hardwood floors and vaulted ceilings, while guest guitarist Josh Francisco (BloodRitual, Outsider) also lays down some solos on the album.
The Thrash resurgence is something we’ve spoken about a lot over the past two years or so and during that same period, “Kill Grid” was being put together by Enforced as they fought against audiences in halls and dive bars up and down the East Coast and Canada as the band played shows with Sacred Reich, Iron Reagan and All Out War to name but a few. That influence is obvious from the very start of the rampaging opening cut “The Doctrine” which laces it’s boots with an atmospheric introduction before delivering a frantic kick in the gut as axe wielding duo Will Wagstaff and Zach Monahan let loose. That whammy bar drop into solo is something 80’s Thrash fans and lovers of Power Trip will rush to the pit for. “UXO” then thunders in with Alex Bishop delivering near Death Metal levels of bloody percussive battery that the solos once again fly over with seamless ease. Everything might not be at breakneck speed but the majority of this record is designed to give you whiplash and should come with a public health warning, “Beneath Me” being a prime example. The haunting leads and throat shredding vocals just building on the dynamic as they cause the ground to rumble beneath your feet. Indeed Knox Colby cites Max Cavalera (Sepultura, Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy, Nail Bomb, Killer Be Killed…) and Mike Score (All Out War) as influences vocally and its easy to see why. The lyrics are delivered with a raspy dry throated bark that is very much something those two offer as well. “Malignance” has a brilliant tapping solo and is reminiscent of “Show No Mercy” era Slayer as it tramples your ear drums to dust in its wake.
Ethan Gensurowsky’s clunky basslines are allowed to bleed out of the mix during the longer introduction to title track “Kill Grid” which slows things up a notch to deliver something that sounds reminiscent of “Territory” by Sepultura, having that same echoed style vocal moment within its four walls. There is a certain air of familiarity on the album as a whole and with sound of Enforced that gives you an instant fix while having enough different about it to give it legs. Rather than rehashing old ideas, Enforced take the foundations of past glories and build their own fortress upon it with “Curtain Fire” and “Hemorrhage” both being fine examples. You can feel the weight of legacy but Enforced simply put on their game faces of Evil grins and keep delivering the goods. No stone in the quarry remains unturned in the process, the constant upsurge of riffs delivered with laser guided precision being a headbangers dream. The finale with accompanying gang chants in “Trespasser” is a fist pumping, chant-a-long anthem that starts any Festival circle pit with it’s raging mid song change up a beast rising from the depths which any Metal band, let alone one with Thrash leanings, would be proud to have on their record [8.5/10]
“Kill Grid” by Enforced is out 12th March via Century Media