The very first track that I heard from the Swedish horde, Enforcer, was the instrumental title track of this album, Diamonds. The speed, energy and melody of the song instantly captured my attention, and reminded me of old school heavy metal in the form of works such as Iron Maiden‘s earlier material. After the successful debut full length album, Into the Night, it would have been hard for Enforcer to come up with even better music, yet with Diamonds, the band has managed to prove cynics wrong, with the album containing some of the strongest songs that the band has written so far.
The opening riffs of Midnight Vice instantly brings listeners back to the 80s, with the large, melodic hooks in the guitars, but without further ado the band goes into full speed with their melodic style of heavy/speed metal. Vocalist Olof could take awhile for first time listeners not accustomed to high-pitched vocals to get used to, but throughout the album he pushes the limits of his vocals, and just when one thinks that it’s not possible for his vocals to get higher, he proves listeners wrong, and this can be heard on moments like the chorus of Nightmares. His performance on Diamonds further shows his versatility, having also played in Tribulation, a band with a totally different style of music. Each of the band members on the album also are given time to display their abilities, and in particular, bassist Tobias stands out from the rest of the band, with the high presence of the bass, and playing style almost reminiscent of Maiden‘s Steve Harris, with the galloping riffs that he tends to utilise at times. The guitars of Adam and Joseph are also another highlight, with the perfect balance between speed and melody.. The instrumental track Diamonds is perhaps the best track that displays the band’s abilities, with lead spots given to each instrumentalist in the band, and it is here that the listener is given the opportunity to appreciate each of the instruments on the album.
The tracks on Diamonds are extremely melodic, and are written in such an infectious way that they can instantly grab the listener’s attention, and without much effort get the listener headbanging along with the music. The band’s numerous influences are also easily heard in the record, and especially on songs like the instrumental title track, Diamonds, the Maiden reference is clearly heard (what better way to attract a Maiden fan like me?), almost reminding listeners of Maiden‘s Transylvania, only infused with more speed and some punkish/thrashy elements, though the song and soften downs halfway, giving a short break to the listeners. The often harmonised twin-lead guitar solos that are present on the album, like on Running in Menace, further brings about the comparison to these heavy metal legends. Slower songs on the album like Katana have introductions that have a certain instrumental guitar feel, sounding like it could come off a Kiko Loureiro album, along with nice singalong choruses.
Few “new” bands have managed to remind me of my first few encounters with heavy metal, capturing the amazement that I felt when first listening to 70s hard rock and then 80s heavy metal a few years back, but with Diamonds, Enforcer has managed to do what many bands have failed to do for me and stir up a nostalgic emotion within, making it an extremely special album personally.