Wolf and Enforcer (co-headliner)
October 10th, 2015
Review by Melanie Brehaut
Photos by Jamie Hunter
Much as the water in Ireland produces the best Guinness, there is evidently something in the air in Sweden that infuses their musicians and produces some phenomenal rocks and metal bands. Case in point: the Wolf/Enforcer co-headlining tour currently making its way around the world, with support from Dynamite. Three bands, all Swedish, all of whom rocked the Limelight’s collective balls off in Belfast on October 10th.
First up was relative newcomers Dynamite, who stride onstage clad in bellbottoms and vests with matching muttonchops and pornstaches and unleash their good time boogie-woogie rock n roll on an increasingly enthusiastic crowd.
Sounding a bit like AC/DC crossed with Motorhead, they blast through their set playing a good mix of tracks from both of their albums, all the while visibly having a blast onstage. They wrap up with an incendiary ‘Gone Wild’ and, judging by the flood of people heading for the merch table, recruit a whole pile of new fans.
The crowd, now thoroughly warmed up, gather again in front of the stage. By the time Enforcer appear the venue is pretty much packed to the rafters, full of fans eagerly anticipating the band’s iconic brand of speed/thrash metal. Celebrating ten years as a band this year, Enforcer know what needs to be done and bugger me, they do it well. Opening with instant classic ‘Destroyer’ immediately sends the crowd into a frenzy, with heads banging, fists pumping and voices roaring along with striking frontman Olof Wikstrand.
The entire band are animated and high-octane throughout, with solid crowd interaction in the form of eye contact and finger pointing all over the shop. With Wikstrand hitting every note (yes, even those eye-wateringly high ones) and the band itself sounding tight as fuck, they rip through their hour long set firing out hit after hit, as well as new material from their recent album ‘From Beyond’. Thus the ecstatic audience are treated to such tracks as ‘Mesmerised By Fire’ and ‘Live For the Night’ and of course the aforementioned album’s title track.
Watching the guitarists’ fingers dance on their frets at high speed and the band’s extended, blazing instrumental breaks, one is reminded that for some bands, faster is better than almost anything else. The technicality and talent required is considerable, and is clearly on show tonight.
Finishing with the triple-whammy of ‘Katana’, ‘Take Me Out Of This Nightmare’ and a devilish ‘Midnight Vice’, they promise to return soon to whoops of delight and leave Wolf with the unenviable task of following an explosive set; truly, if the Limelight had windows they would be in pieces all over the street by now.
Mesmerised By Fire
Live For the Night
Death Rides This Night
Scream of the Savage
Take Me Out of This Nightmare
Dwarfing Enforcer’s longevity by a decade, Wolf are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year; an impressive feat in itself. The fact that they still rock the fuck out and do so with both grace and ferocity is the icing on a very metal cake tonight. Possessing The World’s Smiliest Bass Player (TM) in the shape of Anders Modd and the most buff pocket rocket in metal – vocalist Niklas Stalvind – their sound is more measured and classic than Enforcer; more Maiden than Venom, if you will.
They pour every ounce of effort into their performance to a somewhat smaller but no less adoring crowd. Classics such as ‘The Bite’ and ‘Voodoo’ are aired along side tracks from 2014’s ‘Devil Seed’ such as the brilliantly named opener ‘Overture in C Shark’ and ‘Shark Attack’. They are as slick as black oil and clearly well-rehearsed, but never lose their air of spontaneity and even (dare we say it) fun – there’s no po-faced dramatics here, just a joyful, unabashed celebration of heavy metal.
Highlights include Modd taking his bass for a walk through the crowd, playing mere inches away from the guy who passed out standing up (hope someone got a photo for him!) a, ahem, skull-crushing ‘Skull Crusher’, and set closer ‘Speed On’, which amply demonstrated that, despite approaching ‘elder statesmen’ status in the world of heavy metal, there’s still plenty of ‘bite’ left in this pack of wolves. Exemplary stuff.
Overture In C Shark
I Will Kill Again
Steelwinged Savage Reaper
While it’s true that the UK is the birthplace of heavy metal, it’s also patently obvious that Sweden has enriched the genre immeasurably, as tonight’s three acts clearly showed. For that, we say ‘tank, Sverige!’