In the game of hockey, nearly every squad is equipped with an enforcer. These hulking, heavy-hitters are assigned the task of energizing their club nightly, oftentimes bringing multitudes of loyal fans to their feet, arms flailing in excitement. Blood, sweat, and even tears are poured endlessly into their craft, in hopes of simply making every match worth the price of admission.
Long Island, New York-based hardcore outfit This Is Hell has adopted this same mentality. Since 2004, the raucous quintet, consisting of vocalist Travis Reilly, guitarists Rick Jimenez and Christian Beale, bassist Pieter Vandenberg, and drummer Mike Sciulara, have diligently steamrolled everything in their path, launching an endless sonic assault on hardcore enthusiasts worldwide. Not surprisingly, their new release, a four-track EP aptly titled The Enforcer, is no exception to the rule.
The Enforcer finds the four-piece further elevating their sound, a sturdy mix of 80s thrash metal and blistering hardcore, ironed out on 2010’s Weight of the World and 2011’s Black Mass. “Flag of the Serpent,” a brief instrumental number, opens the release, complete with a mouth-watering guitar solo from lead guitarist Rick Jimenez. The title track, “The Enforcer,” and its successor, “Walking Abominations,” follow suit wonderfully, delivering one wallop to the throat after another. Frontman Travis Reilly’s trademark gruffness is, of course, on display throughout, as is the band’s relentless energy.
Closing out the four-track EP is a reimagining of Metallica’s “Whiplash,” a cut from the band’s 1983 release Kill ‘Em All. While not particularly inventive, it’s faster and more aggressive than its source material, and serves as a homage to an obvious influence of Reilly and company.