Encyrcle_EncyrcleSpeed metal wasn’t around long as a separate genre before it got absorbed into the more popular thrash bubble following the Bay Area explosion. Over the years the differences between the styles blurred, and while they’re slight, speed metal was always closer to classic metal in attitude with a greater emphasis on memorability and hooks. And that’s where Denmark’s Encyrcle come in. Their self-titled debut is a wild and reckless ode to speed metal’s glory days mixed with just enough thrash and black metal to create a volatile cocktail of explosive material. This thing is a veritable smokehouse of wicked and furious riffs, wild vocals and so much metal attitude, you’ll look like an extra from Mad Max: Fury Road by the time the album is finished. Veterans of the original speed wave will hear traces of Savage GraceArtillery, Deathrow and Cyclone as the songs burn across your brainpan like General Sherman through Georgia. And it quickly becomes clear that Encyrcle has staked a righteous claim to be the new defender of metal’s retro glory, despite foolishly opting for a sphere on the cover instead of a shirtless barbarian with sword in hand. Kids today….

After a mood setting intro, “To the End” blasts off with a ridiculously infectious, lightning fast lead riff as frontman N Hydra provides forceful vocals punctuated with air-raid siren screams. It’s like 1985 all over again as the song takes me back to those wonderful crossover albums like Cyclone‘s Brutal Destruction where speed and thrash worked in tandem to beat your ass. The goods keep coming on “Evoke the Night” and its NWoBHM flavor and wickedly old school attitude and energy. “Bloodbasker” is all denim and leather with speed aplenty and macho “call and response” vocals, and “Dizzy Me Deadly” sounds like a loving tribute to all the second tier Germanic thrash bands of the 80s as it enthusiastically goes over-the-top with screams of “666.”

The album centerpiece is the eight-minute marathon of “Black Dust,” and while it’s a bit long in the tooth, the band lets it all hang out and there’s quite the nifty selection of styles, riffs and moods to sort through in what is a very solid old school brawler. The riffing is particular sharp and tasty here and I love the way the band uses old style speed alongside blast beats and blackened riffing.

Encyrcle_2015

Are there problems? Sure, but mostly in the pacing and track order arena. The band is great at creating a raucous, go-for-the-throat vibe, but they sometimes do their damnedest to derail the money train after it gets on track. Besides the intro, they drop two additional instrumentals into the mix, with “Serpent’s Dream” being a weird piano piece that becomes a kind of neo-classical thrash that would fit on any Castlevania soundtrack. It’s interesting and well-executed, but it feels like it’s building toward something huge, only to lead into “Deathlust,” which itself has a long, drawn out (and repetitious) mid-tempo intro. This one-two non-punch leaves the listener doodling his noodle for roughly five minutes before the fireworks begin anew and it’s a huge momentum kill.

This platter truly lives and dies by the Almighty Riff, and S Rose and S Klem really impress as riff-smiths. There are a lot of killer leads and harmonies spanning different eras and styles, but they all gel and play nicely together. The solos are also righteous, and mostly of the excessive, “metal as fook” variety, making the album an air guitarist’s wet dream. N Hydra compliments the furious riffery with a throwback performance sometimes reminding me of Flemming Ronsdorf (Artillery) mixed with Deathrow‘s Milo. He can sing in a powerful mid-range and scream like a stuck banshee and his delivery is always pure, unadulterated metal. The whole band sounds tight and polished, but the songs feel loose and rowdy, which works amazingly well.

Encyrcle isn’t a band trying to make a profound statement. They rock hard, fast and mean and drag you along with them. This is one of the happier surprises of the year and a whole lot of high-speed fun. Buckle up, buttercup, and prepare to be thrashed back to the 80s…and beyond!


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Unspeakable Axe Records
Websites: facebook.com/encyrcle
Release Dates: Out Worldwide 06.02.2015

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  • Al Tatts

    You had me at Artillery.

    • You’re easy.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        “… he said as he removed her brassiere. Leaning back, her heaving embonpoint…”

        • Dr. Scorpion

          “… and then she kicked him in the nuts…. “

          • Monsterth Goatom

            Awww, come on, man, you just ruined the tone. I was going for all classy like.

          • Dr. Scorpion

            I know i know i know…………..

      • Al Tatts

        So easy. And cheap.

  • sir_c

    Enforcer’s little brother. Me likes.

  • Dr. Scorpion

    Is this cheasy? Yes. Do like it? Fuck Yes. All hail the Cheese Druhm!

    • Dr. Scorpion

      Just kiddin, its not cheasy. But i still like the sound of Cheese Druhm :P

      • It ain’t easy…being cheesy.

        • Dr. Scorpion

          Weren’t you guys gonna do a periodic bandcamp thing?

          • Yes. Very periodical apparently.

          • Dr. Scorpion

            BOoooo!

  • Refined-Iron Cranium

    I like what I read, but I like what I’m hearing even more. Denmark has a penchant for good speed metal and I’d like to hear more from this album soon.
    Also, love the guitar tone on the embedded track.

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    I FUCKING LOVE THIS ALBUM.

    • Me too!

      • Weirwolfe

        This is great. Diggin Ranger and Evil Invaders too. Bring on the new Thrash.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    Circles and serpents on the cover? This must be a great album.

    In honour of all things fast, a new form of genre dedicated to circular, serpent imagery has been formed.

    Cirpentular. I think it works.

  • Feeblejocks

    A Madam X review about an aggressively middle-of-the-road symphonic black/death album followed by a Steel Druhm review about a throwback speed/thrash album heavy with cheese and air-raid vocals, complete with a complaint about the lack of shirtless barbarians, and both reviews containing jokes about the reviewers’ age? All is still right with the world.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Ha!
      Readers observation of the year :)

  • Luke_22

    Digging the preview track, sounds like some good, solid, speedy fun. A nice change of pace from my recent rotation.

  • Worldeater

    This album is like time travel without any temporal paradox because instead of fucking things up, the present unites with the past to get even more awesome!

  • Siege Bantayan

    I could feel a Crucifyre vibe with the riffs to go along with the classic vocals. Good stuff!

  • PanzerFistDominatrix

    I’m really not digging this retro thrash metal thing, though I do like some of the music. It’s fun, it’s catchy, and it’s full of all-metal attitude, but it’s hipster-metal. Look at the band photos of Enforcer. It’s an act, however much they love the music they play. Like the hipster who buys a second hand neon skiing jacket from the ’80s as an ironic statement to go with his ironic moustache. I think black metal corpse paint is absolutely ridiculous, but they’re real about it and I respect that.

    I have a denim vest with Pantera patches, Biohazard autographs and Gwar blood on it that I wore with pride in my teens in the mid-90s. A friend of mine wants to have it so he can be the funny one at the party. He’ll never wear it.