With so many festivals each year, some of them are bound to slip under my radar. I actually noticed that this festival existed only a couple of days before it was held, but when I realised that Enforcer was playing, I just had to take a spontaneous trip to Gothenburg. And I certainly don’t regret it. Göteborg Rockfest is a two day festival, but I only went the last day to catch Night, Air Raid, Helvetets Port and Enforcer. Unfortunately, Air Raid had to cancel their performance due to illness.
Night started playing the moment I came in the door – perfect timing! They played the smaller stage on the venue Sticky Fingers, while Enforcer and Helvetets Port performed on the main stage. Sweden is famous for great heavy metal bands, both old acts as well as the new ones, and Night is no exception. Their music is traditional heavy metal, with falsetto-like vocals. The vocalist did a great job along with the other guys in the band. The lead guitarist seemed to have a really good time on stage – he was just a big smile throughout the whole concert. Night mostly played from their latest album Soldiers of Time, opening with Across the Ocean, but the set also included tracks from their previous releases such as Into the Night and Gunpowder Treason which ended the set accompanied with a cheering audience.
I don’t even know where to start with this. Are these guys being ironic or dead serious? I mean, look at them! Maybe I just don’t get it. That aside, Helvetets Port is back from a four year old hiatus, and this show is therefore the first gig since then. Their music doesn’t sound like the other newer Swedish acts at all. The songs are more of an epic style, with galopping rhythms and anthems. Some of the songs they’re playing, are even in Swedish, like Hårdrockens Förkämpe from the single Metal Strike and Huvudlös Gestalt which appears on their first and only full-length Exodus to Hell. I guess Helvetets Port is inspired by bands like Heavy Load and Jonah Quizz, and their music is a tribute to 80’s true heavy metal, but I don’t think they’re anywhere close to these bands when it comes to writing songs. Lightning Rod Avenger from the EP Man With the Chains is pretty alright, and it sounds OK live too, but I reckon the other guys in the audience were a bit more enthusiastic than me.
Enforcer is definitely one of the most interesting bands out there right now, and has been for five or six years now. I’ve followed this band since the start, and seen them live several times. First time I saw these guys were at the first edition of Metal Merchants in Oslo, and they’ve come a long way since then. This concert was the first in Sweden with the new songs from the killer album From Beyond.
Like the album, the gig starts with Destroyer and Undying Evil. Soundwise, it could have been better during the first two songs, but the energy level certainly makes up for that. It’s really fast, loud and totally awesome. Next up is Mesmerized by Fire from their third album Death by Fire, and the audience went wild on this one. Luckily, the sound improved throughout the set. However, a great bunch of touring and concerts all over the world has made Enforcer a professional band, and there’s a phenomenal intensity and tightness on stage, quite unmatched live in the heavy metal scene nowadays.
Even though they have more than enough material themselves, they chose to play two cover songs during the concert: Countess Bathory by Venom with guitarist Joseph Tholl on vocals, and Misfits – I turned into an Martian, which appears on the Japanese CD version of From Beyond. Great covers, but I’d prefer something from Diamonds and even the first album in stead. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always a pleasure to get served killer versions of Venom songs, but I think Enforcer has so many great tunes (like Running in Menace or Fire Walk With Me for example) they could have played.
But who am I to complain? I got Beyond the Slumber, and right after Take Me Out of This Nightmare as an encore. I’m satisfied, to say the least, Enforcer did one hell of a gig. Can’t wait to catch them live again at this years edition of Tons of Rock.
All photos by Katarsis/Unborn.