WARBRINGER / ENFORCER (2019) Live Concert Review!

  • Venue: The Forge – Joliet, Illinois
  • Date: September 22, 2019
  • Special guests: AFTERMATH, MISFIRE, REIGN
  • Reviewed by Michael Juvinall – Horror Patch
  • All Photos copyright Michael L. Juvinall

One of my favorite bands from the second coming of thrash metal is Los Angeles natives, WARBRINGER. The first time I heard them, I was hooked right away. They have a sound that reminds me of why thrash is my favorite metal subgenre. Led by frontman John Kevill, the band has an intensity and aggression that is unmatched by most other bands today. 

Warbringer has been together for about 15 years, since 2004. They have five full-length albums and a couple of EP’s under their belts. With each album, they have continued to grow and refine their sound into the beast of a band they are today. 

They are currently in the midst of their co-headlining tour with Swedish heavy/speed metal group, ENFORCER. This is a grueling tour for the band with 54 dates in 54 days schedule, you can see why. I caught the tour stop in Joliet, Illinois at The Forge, a great mid-size venue that is known for pulling in some of the best acts in metal over their nearly three-year existence. 

This show was my second time seeing Warbringer and I can only say they are quickly growing on me as one of my favorite live acts to see. On this night, Warbringer came out to the gloriously addictive tome on police brutality, “Remain Violent”. This song is my favorite thrash track of the past few years – of any band. It really got the crowd, as sparse as it was, into the show with a bang or with a crack to the lower back by a police baton. IMO, this song is a quintessential thrash opus and singer/founder John Kevill really drives that point home with their live version, Wow is all I can say!

The remainder of their 65-minute set was a great mix of tracks from their discography. In a special treat for the crowd, the band played a blazing new song, “Firepower Kills” to great approval from the audience. This track was a previously unreleased song from the band’s new album due out in 2020. 

I have to comment on how great of a command that frontman Kevill had on the crowd. He is such an enigmatic and energetic singer who is almost mesmerizing to watch on stage. He has the uncanny ability to draw in his audience and give them what they all clamor for – one helluva show! Bravo to Kevill for being one of the most engaging frontmen on the scene today. 

The rest of the band are top-notch players. Each bringing great musicality to the show. It might be a cliched term by today’s standards but these guys are tight as hell! 

All I can tell you is if you get the opportunity to see Warbringer in a live setting, jump on the opportunity. You’ll be in for a night of incredibly violent metal that will thrash you to your core. My one and only complaint about the show is that it’s too short. At barely over an hour, they need to add a few more songs to the set. Cut one or two of the openers and give the fans more of what they want – Warbringer!

4 out of 5 Pentagrams!

Setlist:

  1. Remain Violent
  2. Severed Reality
  3. Descending Blade
  4. Demonic Ecstasy
  5. Firepower Kills
  6. Hunter-Seeker
  7. Prey for Death
  8. Living in a Whirlwind
  9. Combat Shock

Encore:

  1. Living Weapon

Click on each image to enlarge:

The tour’s other co-headlining band, ENFORCER threw me for a bit of a loop. I had never had the pleasure of seeing this band play live before but I was aware of them and had listened to their music previously. They’re a heavy/speed metal band out of Sweden. The band is comprised of four guys who are just there to play metal, nothing else. They are as straight-forward as a band gets. No gimmicks, no makeup, no outrageous costumes, they’re in it for the music. They play old-school speed metal and they’re incredible. 

They look like they just stepped out of a time machine from circa 1988, which is in no way a jab or knock. They reminded me of how metal used to be when I was younger, fun and carefree. They’re not trying to be an old-school sounding band, it just turns out that way. 

Enforcer’s first album was released in 2008 and they have since dropped four more full-lengths to good acclaim. This band too knows how to rock a crowd, just not in the same way as Warbringer. Their music is not as violent but no less engaging. I found myself enthralled with the band’s live performance. These guys were also fabulous musicians and great on their gear. 

They kicked off their setlist with the rousing track, “Destroyer”, kicking the audience in the ass with this great song. They continued kicking ass for 65 minutes with songs like “Undying Evil”, “From Beyond”, “Death Rides This Night”, and “Katana” just to name some of the highlights. 

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting such a great live show from Enforcer and was totally surprised by how much I loved them in this setting. They are definitely a band I will look forward to seeing live again.

4 out of 5 Pentagrams!

Setlist:

  1. Destroyer
  2. Die For The Devil
  3. Searching for You
  4. Undying Evil
  5. From Beyond
  6. Bells of Hades
  7. Death Rides This Night
  8. Zenith of the Black Sun
  9. Live for the Night
  10. Mesmerized By Fire
  11. Take Me Out Of This Nightmare

Encore:

  1. Katana
  2. Midnight Vice

Click on each image to enlarge:

Direct support came from Chicago veteran thrash band, AFTERMATH. These guys have been in the Chicago metal scene since 1985 but never really made it big, which is unfortunate because they’re a decent band. I have to give credit to bands like these guys who aren’t the best but have been at it for a long time without calling it quits. 

Aftermath played for 30 minutes. 

2 out of 5 Pentagrams!

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The second opener was another Chicago thrash metal group called MISFIRE. This is a young, new group to the scene. They formed in 2018. With not much experience in the live realm, I thought they did an admirable job. Their music was decent but they need to get more gigs under their belt…it’s a time thing. I would like to check them out again in about five years. 

They played for 30 minutes. 

2 out of 5 Pentagrams!

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The first opener was local thrash band, REIGN

From their Bandcamp page: The killer street thrash band known as REIGN was formed in 2013 in Chicago IL. Fusing death metal rhythms, progressive song layering, old school thrash riffs, and a punk attitude, REIGN is a sonic force to be reckoned with. I couldn’t have said it better myself. These guys were a good, solid band. They were musically competent and sounded great. They were very heavy and surprised me at how good they were. 

They played for 25 minutes. 

2 ½ out of 5 Pentagrams!

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About Michael Juvinall (2447 Articles)
I am a devoted husband and father. I have been a voracious horror fan since the early age of 5. I watch all horror films but my great loves are classic horror films: Universal Monsters, Werewolves, Hammer Horror and an all around affinity for things that go bump in the night!

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