Only last year Enabler ripped the world a new a-hole and convinced a small legion that they should indeed assume a particularly reverential position with All Hail The Void.
Adding their Hardcore/D-Beat fury to the drone fixated Southern Lord roster and wrong footing all those that thought any band with a drummer from Fall Out Boy could never been utterly brutal, it’s fair to say that Enabler surprised a fair few in 2012.
They’re not done yet, and on this evidence, it would appear that All Hail The Void was merely a teaser. This time around, there’s a slight change in line up, with new drummer Dave Mann taking the place of Fall Out Boy’s Andy Hurley and lead guitarist Eric Dunn also steps in to the fray with the release coming from Think Fast Records.
There’s also a very slight change in the band’s music. It’s so slight that it’s almost imperceptible but things have most definitely changed. Where All Hail The Void was a relentless, unforgiving blast that gave little sway to melody, there’s most certainly a melodious element sneaking into this collection of songs. Like a butterfly on a wheel, a snowdrop poking through a layer of ice, or a poppy springing from the deathly silence of a battlefield, just a tiny concession to beauty makes a hell of a difference. Not that Enabler has gone frilly at the edges of course, everything is just as brutal as before but this time, there’s something approaching (whisper it) full on hooks.
Opening with the title track, Enabler are cautious to spring too many surprises too early on. As such, it would appear that very little has changed, there’s still the chugging riffs, gurgled vocals and lightening quick riffing, but there’s an unmistakable groove coiled at the heart of the track waiting to release and fully ensnare. Live Low dispatches the band’s more metallic urges and indulges their punk instincts more fully. “2…3…GO!! F*ck You! F*CK YOU! F*CK YOU FOREVER” roars Jeff Lohrber as the band explode in an flurry of riffing that accelerates beyond all comprehension and throws in a gloriously distorted and deranged bass line.
Brutal it might be, but not so much as to discount any semblance of a tune. As aggressive as Enabler is, there’s always something to grab onto. This is certainly true of the blink-and-you’ll miss it Sacrifice, which barely seems as if it could be an Enabler song such is its leaning towards something akin to punk-pop flavour. Even stranger is the doomy closing track Fall Selflessly which finds the band slowed to a slow, grinding ebb. The delayed guitars suggest they’ve been listening to the likes of Isis or Pelican recently (in fact, producer Chris Common has worked with Pelican amongst others).
Although it’s utterly different to their previous material, the slow in pace brings out a new intensity in the band and it suits them perfectly. When they change gears at the midpoint, it seems like a wasted opportunity and turns the whole shebang into something of a cut and shut affair.
No matter, the initial signs are good, and with any luck, this new version of Enabler will continue to move from strength to strength.