Twice on these pages I’ve cheerfully expounded upon the kickassery of Milwaukee’s Enabler. If you haven’t been rocking out to them since, then I can say with certainty that it’s not my fault. So if that’s you, stodgily un-enabled even now, then I’m going to try to steer you in the right direction once again. They say the third time’s the charm and all…
Stylistically, Enabler fits snugly within the crusty mayhem that Southern Lord over-marketed a few years back, but what impresses me most about them was (and is) their ability to construct catchy metallic riffs within the maelstrom, an ability too often not shared by many of their punked-out peers. The songs on Shift Of Redemption and its quick follow-up Flies rage and rock, propelled by hardcore’s signature intensity shot through with some seriously ripping thrash.
As seemingly internally unstable as they are prolific, Enabler is reduced now to a three-piece after the departure of guitarist Eric Dunn. They’re also sporting their third drummer, one for each of the three records I’ve covered, all of which were released in the span of a little over a year. That leaves only guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Jeff Lohrber and bassist/vocalist Amanda Daniels from Flies’ line-up. Still, La Fin is business as usual – new drummer Ryan Steigerwald fits in perfectly, and the downsizing in the guitar department doesn’t lessen the impact of Lohrber’s tunes in the slightest.
La Fin Absolue Du Mondetranslates from French as “the absolute end of the world,” and if that sounds like this, then Armageddon will be fun as hell, if nothing else. From the opening of “Close My Eyes,” La Fin hits the ground running, ripping through the catchy and anthemic “I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About This” to the back-to-back killer grooves of “Balance of Terror” and “World Sterilization.” (In the case of the former, I challenge you not to scream along with the tag, “No future / no fate / there is nothing but the lies we make.” In the case of “Balance,” there’s no arguing with that perfect lock-step drive in the intro, and if you tried, you’d just get smacked down by the bad-ass riffs that follow.) Lohrber’s scream is formidable, and Daniels contributes snarling backgrounds, and there’s added power when the two overlap, an attack greater than the sum of its components.
I had the pleasure of catching Enabler’s set at Maryland Deathfest, and it was easily one of the highlights of the festival for me. The tunes from La Fin Absolue Du Monde work perfectly alongside old favorites like “Live Low.” Twenty too-short minutes of this type of catchy-yet-vicious punk was one hell of a great way to start my Sunday afternoon.
And on a complete side note, that album art is fantastic, one of the best to come across my proverbial review desk in years. (I’m actually sitting on a couch. I’m that kind of writer. Who needs a desk, anyway?)
So if after all my enthusiastic ramblings, you’re still not on board with Enabler, then it’s your loss. If crusty fury with catchy riffs gets you all a-tingle, then head on up Wisconsin way for a swift kick in the dairy air.