Enabler - All Hail the Void
Southern Lord
Metallic Hardcore
12 songs (34:32)
Release year: 2012
Southern Lord
Reviewed by Koeppe
Album of the year

After years of touring, Enabler finally got their big break with a respectable label in Southern Lord. And like their labelmates, Black Breath and Burning Love, they released an album this year that takes the scene by storm. With the lineup, at the time of the album being written, able to boast credentials of having worked with such acts as Today is the Day, Trap Them, Earth Crisis, Shai Hulud, Racetraitor, and even Fallout Boy, this album represents the intensity those acts bring to the table minus maybe the pop sensibilities of Fallout Boy.

After an initial acoustic riff, reminiscent of Metallica’s Battery, Enabler sets out at their characteristic breakneck pace. For the unfamiliar, the guys and a lady play brutal hardcore that thrives on the d-beat and riffs other bands wish they could write. What is so well done in this band is their ability to shift styles from grind to hardcore to death metal to doom, but this ain’t no avant garde, progressive sissy show. Enabler’s sound is venomous; it slips in and won’t come out bringing on an image of ominous doom that leaves you with one only option: to mosh. Lyrically, Enabler captures the struggle of youth deemed to be a surplus by society. Vitriol and anguish flow through each song. That intensity grabs you and won’t let go in blasting tracks, like Fuck Today, No Deliverance and Trust.

Oh, you want to hear a breakdown? They got some of those. Speechless slows down the pace enough to kick up a marching riff before the track ends with a flourish of riffing. False Profit showcases their knack for breakdowns as it finishes with chants of “NO ONE IS COMING BACK FROM THE DEAD”, a declaration that in its simplicity and blasphemy has become a live staple for the band. A flourish of triumph is captured by a riff in All Hail the Void just before the plodding breakdown begins.

The highlight of the album, though, might be the track They Live, We Sleep, presumably a reference to John Carpenter’s classic alien film, They Live, wherein a pair of glasses enables the user to see through the holograms that mask the true workings of society. The track opens with a somber chord progression that is carried for two minutes before Enabler does how they do and begins blasting away. Herein hardcore rips through ideology with Jeff denouncing the living dead who sap the life from the youth: “YOU HAVE NO RESPECT FOR LIVING LIFE. YOURE NEVER WRONG, YOURE ALWAYS RIGHT”. And then a chugging riff kicks in to begin the march. This is Enabler at their best. No one else can write a breakdown that plods like that. The classic Enabler riff flourishes over top of the oppressive bass lines and you just can’t help but bang your head.

An initial difference between this album and past recordings of theirs seems to be an unwillingness to put the pedal to the floor and race through a riff as they so often did on Eden Sank to Grief. Some tracks, like Trust, still sound like they could fit on that past album, but this most recent album is characterized by a much more willing embrace of groove. Rather than blasting through each track, the production seems to lighten the intensity for better or worse, based on who is listening. At many times, it provides them an edge of atmosphere while it sadly doesn’t capture the intensity that their live show brings and which past recordings were able to present so well.

True Love displays the band showing a willingness to play with melody, shirking that tendency to grind. And it amongst several other moments in this album capture what this albums seems to represent. Enabler, or more specifically due to the frequency of lineup changes Jeff Lohrber's style, is maturing into a sound that doesn’t shirk past influences and creations, but instead incorporates all of that into a package that is all its own. All Hail the Void is an album that represents the distillation of the hodge podge of styles and influences that Enabler brings to the table into a cohesive product. And despite any lineup changes, with Andy Hurley of Fallout Boy fame being the most recent departure, so long as Lohrber, the creative core of the band, can maintain his insane work ethic then Enabler is a name that people are going to start hearing in discussions of the best bands around.

Killing Songs :
F.A.T.H., Fuck Today, They Live We Sleep, All Hail the Void, No Deliverance
Koeppe quoted 93 / 100
Other albums by Enabler that we have reviewed:
Enabler - Flies reviewed by Koeppe and quoted no quote
Enabler - Eden Sank to Grief reviewed by Koeppe and quoted 95 / 100
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