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Enforced—Kill Grid (Century Media)

One of the great things about a new band putting out a great debut album is the anticipation for the follow up—hoping that the people involved can put lightning in a bottle a second time and deliver something just as good, if not better, than the first. So, when Richmond, VA crossover thrash band Enforced announced they had signed a deal with metal giants Century Media records, the already high stakes were raised exponentially. It doesn’t take long, however, listening to the new album, Kill Grid (out March 12), for one thing to become abundantly clear: there was no need to worry. The debut from Enforced, 2019’s At the Walls (War Records), was damn good—but Kill Grid is flawless.

Opener The Doctrine sets a foreboding tone, with 20+ seconds of droning that swells into the song proper, as if the band literally cannot be stopped. There’s no looking back from there, as the five-piece pound out banger after banger, 9 incredible songs over 41 relentless minutes.

If there is a criticism one may try to level at the band, it could be that Enforced wears their influences very much on their sleeve. That, however, is a highly subjective qualm that really doesn’t hold water. Yes, there are clear musical nods to bands like Cro-Mags, Obituary, DRI, and Slayer, the latter’s influence visible in the single currently dominating the Liquid Metal airwaves on SiriusXM, “Malignance”, but Enforced are nothing if not original, and a breath of fresh air in the heavy music landscape.

Between the excellent production, outstanding songwriting, and energy in abundance, it’s hard to imagine any fans of punk/hardcore/thrash/death not loving Kill Grid. In terms of contemporaries, parallels will obviously be drawn to Power Trip—and while no band can replace the Texas thrash quintet, it’s fantastic to welcome another stellar band into the thrash/crossover fold.

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