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Enforcer and Warbringer Besiege the Black Circle Brewing Co.


Many of you may recall just a few years ago that Warbringer, Cauldron, Enforcer, and Exmortus did a U.S. tour together. They were out to prove what kind of chaos the younger generation of metal could create in the dead of winter. It appears that the alliance forged between Warbringer and Enforcer has been strong enough to bring them together again at any small American venue that will have them. I had the chance to catch them at the Black Circle Brewing Company in Indianapolis, IN, and felt that it was an opportunity not to be missed.

While I didn’t get to the destination right on time (and had missed almost every parking opportunity there was behind the venue), I was fortunate enough to catch the last few songs from local traditional metallers Sacred Leather. Admittedly, I’ve been wishy-washy whenever expressing my opinion of this band. I first saw them at a gig in Chicago in the summer of 2017. At that time, I was really impressed and was excited about the band releasing a full-length album. Once that album was released and I listened to it, I was disappointed and found it to be weak. I started warming up to them again as soon as I walked in and caught them performing. Simply put, these guys sound a lot more powerful and have a lot more credibility as a live band than a studio band.

<img src="www.thegauntlet.com/bandimages/IMG_4161.jpg"; alt=“Warbringer live photo" width="750" height="586">

The vicious modern-day thrash heroes delivered a fierce set to a crowd that was eating up their whole discography. Vocalist John Kevill would scream questions to the audience with the same vocal delivery in which he performs the tunes. He'd sometimes introduce a song with a recognizable line from it. They treated the fans to some violent new cuts that received a strong reaction. After many cries for one more song, the band finally came through with the one track that I had been itching to hear the whole time, “Living Weapon”.

Remain Violent
Severed Reality
Descending Blade
Demonic Ecstacy
Hunter-Seeker
Firepower Kills
Prey For Death
Power Unsurpassed
Combat Shock
Living Weapon

Oddly enough, the size of the audience shrank significantly when Enforcer took the stage. It seemed like a third or maybe half of the concert goers only cared about Warbringer. The band essentially came right on stage and kicked into opening speedster “Destroyer”. No attempts to speak to the audience or try to create an atmospheric build-up were necessary. They had the good sense not to add the irritating backing vocals on “Die For the Devil” that watered down the studio version. Other than that, the band stayed away from their more experimental material from Zenith, sticking to the melodic speed metal that brought fans out that night in the first place. Vocalist/guitarist Olof Wikstrand would from time to time ask the audience if they were up for another fast song, which always received a response full of loud cheering. Olof encouraged everybody to sing along with the chorus to “From Beyond”, and explained how the chorus went before playing the song in case anybody didn't recognize it. He ambitiously insisted that he wanted to hear the whole North American continent hear us sing the song.

Much to my surprise, Olof was the only member of the current line-up that was actually performing that night. Joining him were Chase Becker from Warbringer on bass, Skull Fist’s Johnny Nesta on guitar, and Yngwie J. Malmsteen/Thrash or Die drummer Brian Wilson behind the kit. Although it was disappointing to see Olof Wikstrand accompanied by an entirely different crew, this reinforces the common belief that a band is never the same without the singer. Olof's presence is something you expect, need, and immediately associate with their songs, and even with their logo. How can you watch Enforcer without that blonde-haired, leather-and-spikes clad metal maniac with the Swedish accent and high falsetto? He has such a knack for spotting the most enthusiastic fans in the audience, never shying away from pointing at anybody that he catches singing along with him. Johnny, in particular, looked like he was having a lot of fun onstage. When I told him about my favorite Enforcer songs (which were included in the set) after the show, he mentioned that those were some of his favorite songs to perform onstage.

Destroyer
Die For the Devil
Searching For You
From Beyond
Zenith of the Black Sun
Undying Evil
Death Rides the Night
Live For the Night
Mesmerized By Fire
Run For Your Life?
Scream of the Savage
Guitar solo from Johnny
Take Me Out of This Nightmare
Katana
Midnight Vice

I also have to add that Indianapolis’s Black Circle Brewing Company is one of the coolest concert venues I have ever visited! The place is significantly ahead of most other small- to mid-sized concert hot-spots in terms of its decor and amenities. The walls are just plastered with thousands of stickers at every turn, mostly of craft breweries from all over the Midwest. On top of that, you have horror movie posters all over the walls, horror movies playing on the TV (not that they need much attention when there’s a metal show happening), and about seven pinball machines lined up in a row! Instead of gawking at a gargantuan selection of liquors at the bar, there is an enormous collection of VHS tapes (and not just horror films either) to delight all of you film buffs out there. So, if one of your deepest loves in life is beer, metal, or movies, you’ll feel right at home here. If those are you’re three biggest passions, you’ve found heaven on earth! I would definitely love to see more concerts at this venue in the future.

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Tags:  EnforcerWarbringerSacred LeatherSpeed metalThrash metal

    November 15, 2019

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