Release DetailsLABEL Southern Lord Records
RELEASED ON 4/9/2013
...Seek Redemption, all ye crust-loving punks and metalheads alike.
Shift Of Redemptionposted on 4/2013 By:
One of the perks and perils of this “music critic” gig is that we’re each inundated with new music every month – I’m not complaining, mind you; new music is why I’m here, after all. But given the flood, it’s inevitable that not every record gets singled out for much listening time, and a few gems float by that otherwise would deserve greater attention, perhaps some praise, at least a mention. One of the more recent ones that got away from me was Enabler’s All Hail The Void, which was released by Southern Lord in July of 2012, and didn’t find its way into my player until very late in the Fall.
So I owe Enabler and Southern Lord a bit of an apology because, had I managed to sift through my promo pile a bit better, it’s highly likely that All Hail The Void would’ve settled into a comfy spot somewhere on my Best Of 2012 list.
We didn’t cover Void here at Last Rites, so I’ll take a few words now to sum it up before I move on to its follow-up: All Hail The Void is a seriously pissed-off slab of crusty, metal-leaning hardcore from a band that, at the time, borrowed the drummer from Fall Out Boy and The Damned Things. (Don’t let that deter you – Enabler vocalist / guitarist Jeff Lohrber doesn’t like Fall Out Boy either; it's just that he and Hurley are childhood friends. It’s also worth mentioning that Lohrber himself played drums in touring incarnations of Shai Hulud, Trap Them, and Today Is The Day.) Like all the crusty hardcore that Southern Lord has been spitting out over the past few years, The Void is loud and ugly – that much is virtually a given. But Enabler has a stronger sense of metallic riff-craft than many of their peers, and thus Void is a bit meatier, a bit metaller, and it stands as one of the best of the Southern Lord releases of late.
Since Void, drummer Andy Hurley has returned to the reformed Fall Out Boy, and Enabler soldiers on with this four-track EP released on Think Fast! (The exclamation point is theirs, not mine, although I am excited about it. I just contain myself a bit better.) The songs are of equal caliber – all fiery punk fury that is equal parts crusty filth, hardcore groove, and driving metal riff – though the production isn’t quite as dirty as on All Hail The Void. Shift is a bit more organic, a bit more punk even as it packs less direct punch, and though it certainly is, it comes off as not as chaotic as Void because it’s not as loud. The guitars aren’t quite as sharp-toned; the whole thing not the wall of noise that Void brought. In truth, it’s a better production, allowing the songs to breathe, even as it may catch some criticism for not appearing to be as “heavy.”
Still, sonics be damned, the energy definitely remains, and that’s Shift’s ultimate and eternal redemption. The title track opens, d-beat driven, with a thrashing verse riff and dissonant squalls punctuating the second section. But Redemption truly arrives when Lohrmer screams “Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you forever!” in the opening verse to “Live Low,” a moment of righteous rage before that tune drops into a chugging metal riff beneath the refrain. It’s a simple but powerful moment, one that progresses nicely into that tune’s swaggering hardcore midsection and beyond.
The one-and-half-minute chug of “Sacrifice” is glorious, a simple driving rocker that is regrettably over too soon. “Fallselflessly” opens with distant bass and chiming guitars that then descend into a slow crawl driven by Amanda Daniels’ gnarly bass tone – the guitars layer in, building to a short climax, before the whole thing stops dead, and what would appear to be a new track begins, this one just a further minute of straightforward hardcore. Enabler is whip-crack tight – this is a unit with a rotating line-up, never the same band twice, but the players' ability to shift between riffs and sections belies their internal instability.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the crusty hardcore barrage these days – there’s certainly no shortage of this type of band – but Enabler stands taller than most, and Shift Of Redemption is an excellent example of what the band can do. Truthfully, since this review is as much about the previous record as the one I’m supposed to be covering, I suppose it’s fair to mention that All Hail The Void is an equally good example, and both absolutely deserve your time. Hail the Void and seek Redemption, all ye crust-loving punks and metalheads alike.
I certainly won't let the next one pass by unheard.