Band – Enforced
Album – Kill Grid
Country of Origin – USA
Genre – Crossover Thrash
Release Date – March 12, 2021
Label – Century Media Records
Author – Hayduke X
It is fair to say that I’m kind of over most thrash metal. I grew up with the style. I was around for the glory days. Now, I find most of it simply bores me. Understand too that I mean the old stuff and the new stuff both. There are still a handful of classic thrash bands with classic albums that still get me circle pitting in my living room, but some of my former favorites haven’t been played in decades. Similarly, much of the modern thrash resurgence gets little to no play by me, with a few notable exceptions. Now that I’ve set all of that up, let me get to the main point: Kill Grid by Enforced is an absolutely essential thrash album. It’s killer. Moshing and headbanging will ensue with each listen, of which there have been (and will continue to be) many.
Ethan Gensurowsky (bass), Zach Monahan (guitar), Knox Colby (vocals), Alex Bishop (drums), and Will Wagstaff (guitar) are the five individuals who have captured this magic. I swear they have a time machine. They capture the crossover sound that was always my favorite among thrash bands, but also have some of the might and aggression of a band like Kreator. That’s not to say the band are copycats. Let’s face it – thrash has been around a long time. There really isn’t any such thing as complete innovation, unless you leave the genre. Enforced have managed to create their own unique sound within the genre however, which is a big part of why they sound so fresh decades after thrash first jumped off.
As is generally the case in thrash, Enforced weave socio political commentary into their lyrics. As discussed a bit below, the Military-Industrial Complex is one major topic found on the album. I would strongly recommend that you read the lyrics. They are intelligent and thought provoking. I’m generally not much of a lyrics guy, but I made an exception here, and I’m glad I did.
Below the video is an interview I did with the band. I want to offer my apologies to Will and Knox especially, as they ended up doing the interview twice. We had a really great phone conversation which failed to record due to technical difficulties on my end. They then graciously agreed to answer the questions via email. One more reason for full support for this band.
Hayduke X: Congratulations on the upcoming release of Kill Grid. I’ve been lucky enough to hear an advance press copy and it rips. It brings me back to my teen years, which were in the glory days of the beginnings of thrash. Are you guys happy with the final product?
Will: Hell yeah man! We are super psyched, we hope we captured the right amount of rawness and production value haha.
HX: The band is still pretty new, with this being just your second full length. What’s the Enforced origin story?
Will: Started in late 2016, demo super early 2017, Retaliation demo was super early 2018, At The Walls was 2019, then Kill Grid is 2021. We were all playing in hardcore and punk bands in Richmond and started doing more thrashy stuff, it came together pretty naturally. Richmond is a thriving scene.
HX: Even though Enforced didn’t form until 2016, you have clearly captured the essence of an early time. Kill Grid reminds me of the passion and energy of the vibrant thrash scene of the 80s. How have you managed that? Who would you say your influences are?
Will: Poison Idea, Discharge, Bolt Thrower, Slayer, Dark Angel, Possessed. Basically we just are contractors, and are grinding and work really hard. We love 80s punk and metal.
HX: Tell me about your writing and recording process. Has the pandemic affected that?
Will: We riff all the time. We are always jamming and the songs all come together pretty naturally. Pandemic has affected us a bit, you know we don’t jam as much all together, but we still have been writing, sending voice memos, etc.
HX: How did you end up signing with Century Media? How has that process been for you?
Will: Pretty good. We actually were originally heard on Bandcamp by the now head of AR Phillip Schutte. He saw potential in us and offered us an opportunity. It’s been a pretty painless and easy process, we are willing to work and want everything to be successful, so we love working together honestly.
HX: In general, much of the album seems to focus on opposition to the military-industrial complex. Am I reading that right?
Will: Yes that is definitely a theme. Knox is a very socially conscious person and has always been into reading and writing about militarism and corruption. He is super smart and I think his writing says a lot about who he is. At the same time, we love a pummeling death metal song about fucking someone up.
HX: Knox is quoted as saying, “The first half is about the death of innocence, or the death of an innocent person, due to the surge of distrust, outrage, and skepticism of a society” about Hemorrhage. Can you expand on that?
Will: Yeah, basically the song is about societal hemorrhaging and being fucked up as an innocent bystander. No matter what ends up happening, you know you’ll be caught in the crossfire of two sides you may or may not have anything to do with.
HX: Joe Petagno designed the album cover. How do you feel it connects with the music and themes of the album?
Will: Joe was so awesome to work with. I’d love working with him again. Basically we sent him like two paragraphs about the album and sent him the lyrics, and he came up with basically that final album art. He wanted to keep it black and grey and we thought that was a great idea. Not a lot of metal releases are black/grey and I think it plays into the absolute bleakness of everything.
HX: Do you have plans for tours or playing live?
Will: Given the current state of things at the moment no.
HX: What’s a live Enforced show like?
Will: Absolute desolation of the stage. We bring it on and in the words of Devastation, we deliver the suffering.
HX: What else should we know? What else would you like to say?
Will: Follow up on twitter/IG/facebook – @enforcedrva
Biography: Hayduke X has been writing for MoshPitNation since June of 2016. Prior to joining the MoshPitNation team, Hayduke published reviews on his own blog Rage and Frustration. In addition, he has DJ’ed an online metal radio show of the same name as his blog, written for TOmetal.com, done interviews for Metal Rules, and collaborated with The Art of B Productions to create video interviews with a wide variety of bands.