There is a disturbance in the force! Hailing from Richmond Virginia, Enforced are quickly gaining notoriety in the metal community as a force to be reckoned with.
The band showcases mastery of the thrash metal genre during live performances, exhibiting their militant power and sophistication. Vocalist Knox Colby’s commanding stage presence and dynamic vocals are what truly sets Enforced apart from the rest. Knox is a powerhouse, taking command of the stage with a vocal range spanning from guttural growls to piercing howls.
Axe men Will Wagstaff and Zach Monahan deliver razor-sharp riffs and blistering solos that perfectly compliment the thunderous rhythm section of bassist Ethan Gensurowsky and drummer Alex Bishop.
Enforced’s most recent call to arms, “War Remains,” is a declaration that is raw and unapologetic, blending groove and aggression seamlessly.
Metal Lair was thrilled to hear directly from Knox Colby about the bands recent endeavors.
ML: What inspired the band’s name Enforced? Does it reflect a particular philosophy or message that the band wants to convey through its music?
Knox: The name came from a desperate attempt to name a band that already had a demo but no name. It’s utilitarian and simple enough. Has the name grown in meaning since 2017? Maybe to our long-standing listeners, but it’s just a name to me.
ML: Richmond has a thriving music scene, with a long history of producing influential punk and metal bands. How has the city influenced the bands sound and style?
Knox: Richmond is a big influence when it comes to productivity. All of our friends and peers are constantly grinding out new material and it makes us want to work harder, be sharper, and to be a killer band.
ML: Some of the band’s music deals with themes of social injustice, inequality, and corruption. What inspired the band to address issues like these in its lyrics, and what message do you hope to convey to your listeners?
Knox: I’m writing about what’s in front of me. Injustice, inequality, corruption and the apathy to address any of it can be found anywhere. I guess my only message would be by tackling your inner issues, you’ll become a more positive force to the community and to the world at large; but it starts with yourself and being honest about your shortcomings. The only way forward is to own up to your shit, something no one seems interested in doing.
ML: The band’s last album, “Kill Grid,” was released in 2021 to critical acclaim. How does the band feel about the reception to the album, and what was the writing and recording process like?
Knox: We were super happy with the reception and the reactions people had to it! We put so much time, effort and pressure on ourselves to make our first album with Century to really stand out and turn heads. I think we accomplished that in spades, and we plan to keep pushing forward with the same tenacity, if not more so.
ML: The band has a new album coming out April 28th this year, “War Remains,” and you’ve released the song Ultra Violence. Can you explain what prompted this lyrical content?
Knox: Honestly, I can’t pinpoint any ONE specific theme. I remember scribbling it down in a fury and then sitting back really confused and in awe of it. I think I just had this “ah ha!” moment with all my notes scattered all over my porch trying to express and make sense of what’s locked in my head. Like Charlie from It’s Always Sunny:
ML: Many of your songs have a high level of technicality and complexity, with intricate guitar riffs and time signatures. How does the band approach songwriting and arranging, and what is the creative process like in the studio?
Knox: Zach Will and Alex write the songs and work on them for weeks and weeks until they’re tight and ready to rock, then I write lyrics after I’ve heard it a couple hundred times haha. What they do behind those doors is a secret even I’m not privy to!
ML: Enforced has been described as a “crossover death” band, incorporating elements of thrash, punk, and hardcore into its music. How does the band balance these different influences, and what sets Enforced apart from other bands in the genre?
Knox: I think we have a lot of energy and vitality that the crowd feeds off of at shows. We in turn feed off their energy and it turns into a frenzy. The youthful gusto of hardcore, the finger in your eye “fuck you” punk blends well with thrash and metal to make something completely unique and frenetic.
ML: Enforced has been active for several years now, but the band has only recently gained widespread recognition and acclaim. What do you attribute this success to, and how does it feel to have your music reach a larger audience?
Knox: HARD WORK and sticking to our guns. We’ve never done a tour we didn’t want to do, we’ve never made a single or wrote a song we didn’t want or like, and we’ve never kowtowed to anyone. We manage ourselves (Will Wagstaff is the best manager we could have), we’ve DIY booked some tours and small runs and shows. We play what we want when we want to. That drive and mentality reflects in our stage presence, our actions, and our appreciation from listeners new and old. Hard work pays off.
ML: Enforced has shared the stage with many notable metal and punk bands, including Sacred Reich, Iron Reagan, and Power Trip. What have been some of the most memorable moments from these shows, and what has the band learned from these experiences?
Knox: We’ve learned something new from every tour we’ve ever been on. We learned a lot from the Sacred Reich tour (we’d never been a part of anything that big before) and having wonderful guides like Tony Foresta and Phil Rind showing us the ropes on how bigger venue shows operate behind the scenes was great. Towards the end of the Decibel Tour, in Jersey City, the whole tour package just started stage diving and cannon-balling off stage throughout the entire Obituary set. Some of the most fun energy I’ve ever been a part of, and Obituary thought it was the coolest/funniest/best time as well! We rode that glow for days.
ML: Your live shows are known for their high-energy and intense atmosphere. How does the band prepare for a live performance, and what do you hope to achieve through your live shows?
Knox: We tune our guitars and go on stage. Very little/no preparation. We hope people lose their minds and jump off stage and mosh relentlessly. I love when crowds can match or exceed our energy. If I can do it, you can do it.
ML: Enforced has been described as “the future of thrash metal.” What are your thoughts on that description, what does the future hold for the band, and what can fans expect to see and hear from Enforced in the coming years?
Knox: That’s a bold statement, but a wonderful compliment. I’m glad people are seeing us in that kind of light. We have two tours ready to go for the summer, potentially a third. We’ll have a beer out when the album drops, we’re working on a record release show in Richmond (looking mid May). The gears don’t stop turning in the Enforced house.
ML; We asked a couple of fans to submit questions for the band.
Ter Deetch asks which venues are your favorite to play at?
Knox: Ralph’s Rock Diner – Worcester, MA, barely any laws there.
Rock Room – Pittsburgh, barely any laws there
Gooski’s – Pittsburgh, only played there once but it appeared there were no laws there
St Vitus – NYC, probably has laws, but none that I’m aware of.
Ohio – lawless
Chicago – lawless
Toronto – plenty of laws but the crowds are growing and growing
Eric Sorensen asked, on the title track of Kill Grid (Kill Grid & Curtain Fire are the best tracks on the album in my humble opinion) the last minute and 18 seconds has a droning sound. I am guessing this is aural presentation of the killing grid. It seems forced and detached: Was this part of the original track as written, or was this a production implant to extend the track?
Knox: The buzzing noise you’re hearing is the UVB-76 buzzer radio signal that’s been coming out of Russia since the 70s. There are conspiracies and theories that tie this signal to Russia’s nuclear Arsenal and execution of its payload (Dead Man’s Hand). Arthur Rizk masked and distorted it to punch it up a bit. You can find a live stream of it on YouTube. Check it out and listen to all the code talking in between the buzzers. I thought it fit the tone of the album, contextually, but people really seem to hate that fucking buzzing sound!
ML: We would like to thank you for the interview and your time, it’s been a pleasure. Any last words for your fans?
Knox: I’d like to thank everyone for their time, reading this interview, and listening to our music. There’s always more on the way. Keep moshing. Cheers
Enforced has launched a new video for “War Remains“; in support of their third full-length via Century Media Records which is out now.
Vocalist Knox Colby states: “The song ‘War Remains’ stresses the complimentary nature of war alongside peace, rather than two opposing sides of a spectrum. War is ever present and forever constant…
“Meanwhile, the album ‘War Remains’ details the decay and breakdown of modern society, along with insight about the cyclical nature of decay and subsequent growth. Biting through at just over 30 min, it’s a caustic warning; cautioning you of those who seek to undermine you.
“We hope you enjoy the album as much as we did writing and recording it. Hope you pick up a copy, we’ll see you at the gig, let’s rock.”
Purchase and stream War Remains in full here: https://enforced.lnk.to/WarRemains – where the album is available in the following versions:
–Standard CD jewel-case
–Blue vinyl available from USA retail (500 copies) & CM Distro Wholesale EU and CMdistro.de (300 copies)
–White vinyl available from EMP (150 copies) & Nuclear Blast (150 copies)
–Red vinyl available from Enforced (limited to 300 copies)
Album Artwork by: Joe Petagno
“We didn’t overthink anything,”says Enforced front-man Knox Colby, describing the ethic that went into the making of the Richmond, Virginia-based quintet’s third album, War Remains. “It’s all very straight forward, no bells and whistles production-wise. It’s almost ten minutes shorter than our last record and packs ten times more of a punch.”
Teaming with Richmond-based producer, Ricky Olson, with mixing help from Arthur Rizk (Power Trip, Kreator), the band delivered on every iota of extreme aggression they’ve flexed since their inception in 2016. War Remains is the sound of Enforced pushing themselves to the next level: a serrated-edge classic. “It has the intensity of ‘At the Walls’ (2019) but is more mature than ‘Kill Grid’ (2021),” Colby explains. “It has that tenacity of us live. It spills through the record. If you’re a fan of really aggressive music, you’re gonna love it. It’s seething!”
Venom Inc., Acid Witch, Enforced tour dates
June 22, 2023 – Trees – Dallas, TX
June 23, 2023 – The Rock Box – San Antonio, TX
June 24, 2023 – Scout Bar – Houston, TX
June 25, 2023 – Jake’s Backroom – Lubbock, TX
June 26, 2023 – Rock House – El Paso, TX
June 27, 2023 – 191 Toole – Tucson, AZ
June 28, 2023 – Nile – Phoenix, AZ
June 29, 2023 – House of Blues – San Diego, CA
June 30, 2023 – Whisky A-Go-Go – Los Angeles, CA
July 1, 2023 – Full Circle Brewing – Fresno, CA
July 2, 2023 – DNA Lounge – San Francisco, CA
Venom Inc., Acid Witch, Enforced tour dates
July 5, 2023 – El Corazon – Seattle, WA
July 7, 2023 – Metro Music Hall – Salt Lake City, UT
July 8, 2023 – The Lincoln – Cheyenne, WY
July 9, 2023 – Oriental Theater – Denver, CO
Knox Colby – Vocals
Will Wagstaff – Guitars
Zach Monahan – Guitars
Ethan Gensurowsky – Bass
Alex Bishop – Drums