Enabler: Shift of Redemption

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Enabler: Shift of Redemption
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Enabler: Shift of Redemption
Hardcore
Think Fast! Records
April 9th, 2013
Release length: 11:40
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2011 saw the release of All Hail the Void, the second full-length album from Milwaukee’s Hardcore group, Enabler. The effort was met with plenty of critical praise, as did their compilation album, Year One, which was also issued in 2011. Now, nearly two years later, the band gears up to unleash a brand new EP through Think fast! Records titled Shift of Redemption. Comprised of four songs that clock in at just under twelve minutes, one can’t help but wonder of Enabler lives up to the standards they set for themselves in the eyes of their fans, or if it’s nothing more than a cheap cash-in after such a long stretch of silence on the new material front?

Well, first of all, the audio isn’t as great as one would hope it to be, though it does try catering to a violent intensity. The whole thing does come off muffled, finding the deeper guitars on the thicker side, not having much bite to them sadly, but some of the leads have a higher pitch that’s a little cleaner. The bass guitar doesn’t offer up too much for the sake of impact either, but the lower tuning does help in its favor a bit. The drums sound thick and rich, as does the click of the bass kicks. Even the cymbals sound a little lower in tone, but pushed a little further in the mix. The vocals are often drowned out more, though some slower spots do allow the rhaspy, back of the throat style shouting to come through a lot better. All of this, and yet the release still sounds incredibly dull.

The EP simply lacks any bite thanks to how muffled it all sounds, and given the performances, it really does rob the listener of what seems to be some impressive performances. “Shift of Redemption” has some varied blastbeats throughout the fast-paced assault. There are some strong lead guitar hooks that hit here and there, and sound great being used in moderation, however the slower breakdown style passages towards the end simply come off boring, though give an aquatic atmosphere that is interesting to say the least. “Sacrifice” finds a catchy mid-tempo chugging approach that actually gives off a bit of a deeper tone. There are some hooks in the leads similar to “Shift of Redemption,” but not many considering the song’s rather short track length, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing here.

When the distortion is met with some more complex chords and speed, even a little two-stepping, Shift of Redemption can show its teeth a bit. “Live Low” sticks out with the faster material and raw aggression at the start, which slows down as the track moves on to catchy two-step Punk-infused Hardcore that doesn’t really seem to go anywhere come the end. But, then there’s “Fallselflessly,” which is a very bass heavy track with the guitars being left out for the most part. Eventually you happen across some haunting leads, and the slowre sections really do bring up an aura of Doom Metal, gradually picking up speed, then shifting gears entirely to what seems like a fifth track sliced into one. At two and a half minutes in, the mood and pace completely changed to a mid-tempo Punk hybrid once more that simply isn’t as impressive as what started this track out.

While Enabler has been earning a good deal of positive feedback from both fans and critics alike, Shift of Redemption ends up putting a blemish on the success the group has worked so hard to build up. It’s not even that the music is bad, but rather the production quality leaves nearly all of the EP a bland mess thanks to the muffled music. Unfortunately, Shift of Redemption has very little to redeem itself with, and hopefully Enabler‘s next effort won’t come off like an EP recorded in an acoustic-friendly bathroom with wash towels wrapped all over the mic.

01. Shift of Redemption – 3:46
02. Live Low – 2:15
03. Sacrifice – 1:36
04. Fallselflessly – 4:03
Initial Pressing Score: 2/10

Enabler (band)
Enabler

Digital review copy of this release provided by Think Fast! Records via Earsplit PR.