Enabler – All Hail the Void
It’s like Jeff Lohrber and Enabler knew just what extreme music needed upon forming in 2009; a band that covered all the bases. The splintering trends in the more niche sects of modern hardcore now sees many bands specializing in their fields while decreasing the scope of technique and ambition in their releases… But not Enabler. Actual “full lengths” are scarce as it is, but that’s always been the case. While Enabler’s new LP All Hail the Void does not have the length of an epic (at 35 minutes), its reach feels comprehensive and varied. I guess the best comparison would be the amount of content you’d find on a Converge release, even one as versatile as Axe to Fall. But Void is always pitch black, and while it keeps you hooked by trading fist-pumping death metal for emotion-fueled hardcore, it steamrolls ahead with a consistent and, above all, Enabler vehemence.
If you’ve been following Enabler since Eden Sank To Grief, the first thing that sticks out about All Hail the Void is its far more sinuous lineup and production. Instrumental lines feel tightly knit together and their tones audible and full. This generally keeps with the more controlled rhythm section (with genre legend Andy Hurley pulling off aggressively cerebral patterns), fleshing out and showcasing the songwriting – A wise recording decision, as Lohrber’s compositions are clearly dependent on layers and precisely executed riffs. This does, however, shear off some of the all-out devastation found on Eden and the nasty EP War Begins with You. Those releases tended to eschew decibel range in favor of blood and guts loudness, feedback, and ambience, making fuckers like “Survival Kits” and “End of the World Party” feel gargantuan. It would be more of a let down if these tracks weren’t designed from the ground up to have a rhythmically groovy execution more akin to 90’s death and thrash metal.
I’m really glad a track like “True Love” made it onto this release – Inclusions of feeling like these are what made Harlots (the technical death metal band Lohrber drummed for, and the reason I originally became aware of Enabler) one of the all-time greatest bands. The track makes good use of Greg Thomas on guitar, playing with polyphony in only a way I can assume will be implemented on Misery Signals‘s new record. “No Deliverence” is as perfect as it gets, beginning with the band’s trademark riffs, a hoppy half-time breakdown, Swedish harmonies, and Amanda Daniels‘s active low-end work (Daniels also gives “Speechless” huge range by giving the higher-register riffs some impossibly tuned heaviness in the crunchier reprise of the main theme). So yes, All Hail the Void not only acts as a technical benchmark for the genre but one that recombines an entire canon of styles and directions back into the fold. It’s a new classic.