support Enforcer + Skullfist
author EW date 11/04/11 venue Underworld, London, UK

Yes it was a Monday night but I gotta ask: where was everyone?! Enforcer only released the album of the year for me in 2010, "Diamonds", and as it turns out, this heavy metal bill only had two other stonking acts performing on it - all for the price of a night at the movies (in these here parts anyway).

Skull Fist

With the Underworld not even approaching one-quarter capacity Canadians Skull Fist pressed play on a set of what turned out to be some of the highest quality speed metal I've heard this side of the 1980's. Frankly, with a name as strong as Skull Fist you'd better make your music just as powerful or fade into obscurity quicker than you can say 'Exciter', an assessment which based on initial impressions Skull Fist are capable of meeting.

To the eyes each member bears uncanny resemblance to a more illustrious name of our fair metal world (Blackie Lawless, King Buzzo, Dave Mustaine and Lita Ford - go work out which is which), a fact I found faintly brilliant, but it was in the old Mötley Crüe meets Enforcer mixed with classic 80's Canadian sound that Skull Fist really made their impression. Belying the inexperience of the band, with just one demo and EP to their name, the musicianship could hardly be faulted in the slightest, whether that was darting from side to side and on one momentous occasion when excellent frontman Zach Schotter riffed while on the shoulders of soloing Ken Neilson! Playing presumably all of 2010's "Heavier Than Metal" the four-piece made light of a small crowd far from home to put most recent support acts I've seen to shame.

A quick myspace listen post-gig and with such an infectious energy on a basic self-released EP I can only declare Skull Fist a band well worth keeping an eye on in the near future. Don't be surprised to see a label come swooping for Lawless Jr and crew soon. Fantastic stuff.


After the surprise revelation of Skull Fist we had two more immediately in store: Enforcer NOT headlining as previously thought, and said Swedish heavy metal heroes being trimmed to a four-piece following the recent departure of Adam Zaars. Enforcer originally being vocalist Olof Wikstrand's own personal band his deputisation on guitar appeared effortless to help the protagonists of such brilliant tunes as "Take Me To Hell", "Katana" and "Midnight Vice" plough onwards, albeit with the kind of muted feel that is hard to avoid in such settings. These, plus some helpings from debut "Into the Night", were all probably written with grander evenings in mind but the solid performance of all did nothing to harm the growing legacy that is building with each subsequent outing towards their 'plans of world domination' (band words, not mine).

To the band's credit they seemed to show no sign of having recently lost a member without replacement - the relentless touring on which Enforcer have embarked in recent times having built the band into a collective capable of writing some of the highest quality heavy metal being released in the current age. It's easy to forget how young Enforcer still are given the adulation heaped on them from the likes of yours truly and many more beyond in the past year or two, as the confidence flows seemingly without end having been built upon years of passionate metal fandom.

Perhaps the best time to put in only a good performance before the festival season soon kicks in again, Enforcer still gave an object lesson in how great the genre of heavy metal can become and with that you won't find me having a moan.


And so it was left to also-Swedes Bullet to close out the activities of one Monday evening. Sporting another lookey-likey to add to the night's collection (guitarist Hampus Klang surely being the offspring of a certain Nigel Tufnell?) Bullet got a large portion of the assembled heads nodding in unison to their AC/DC and Accept-inspired hard-rocking set that barely dipped in the enjoyment factor through it's duration (let's not comment on the innovation-factor though, huh?). Not ones to feel the need to tread new ground when it has been so perfectly laid by a group of Aussies and Germans before them Bullet let their showmanship do the talking - that means solos aplenty, naturally interspersed around copious amounts of gurning and typically cheesy antics that songs like "Bite the Bullet" are seemingly written in aid of.

Anyone who knows AC/DC knows that a good time is guaranteed in their presence regardless of musical education and much the same can be said of Bullet - hardly a moment could be aired without some sign of the band enjoying themselves more than should surely be legal on a Monday evening. If Bullet are looking to find their own sound they are surely going the wrong way about it as Dag Hell Hofer's tones have more than a little Bon Scott & Brian Johnson about them while the simple rhythm riffs afforded guitarists Klang and Almström plenty of opportunity to play up to the crowd, but as far as taking a healthy dose of idol inspiration and injecting it with an extra dollop of heavy metal there's not much going wrong here. At this point I take back any comments made on the night suggesting they were not good enough to play above Enforcer - sorry…


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