ENFORCER Fists up!
Kristian Ekeblom

WHEN YOU LISTEN to good heavy metal, you should be physically unable to keep from making a fist. Even if you're riding the bus, walking the dog, or eating a burrito on the couch, your free hand should be clenched tight and thrust in the air, or possibly pounding on an inanimate surface. Listen to Judas Priest's Hell Bent for Leather or Iron Maiden's Running Free right now and just try to resist the fist!

Considering this specific animal instinct that only true heavy metal can induce, it's safe to say Sweden's Enforcer are adept at making even the genre's staunchest critic white-knuckled and insane. Since their inaugural full-length album, 2008's Into the Night, each of Enforcer's releases has been a flawless, gleaming diamond of heavy metal, beaming its majesty back from the glory days of old, when that steely genre was originally forged.

For that reason, Enforcer's particular brand of heavy metal has often caused them to be lumped into the "traditional" metal movement. But guitarist/vocalist Olof Wikstrand doesn't see Enforcer as a throwback at all.

"I just see it as: There's metal and there's not metal," he says. "Metal wasn't very popular in the '90s, and so-called 'modern metal bands' are simply not metal. We are modern metal."

Enforcer's most recent studio album, From Beyond, finds the band incorporating classical elements into its repertoire. Some of the riffs on the record sound like they should be played by an orchestra pit full of musicians. The final track, "Mask of Red Death," even has some subtle, haunting piano drifting in the background. Wikstrand is very excited about all these elements, and suggests that fans can expect more in the future.

"I'm quite a big fan of classical harmonies and melodies, and that's something I'd love to get into the band more," he says. "We will see what it will be when it comes to [our] next record."

For the time being, crank up From Beyond and raise a fist.