It would probably be safe, for most people anyway, to assume that when a band crosses style or genre lines, blurring the boundaries of “tradition“ so to speak, it can go one of two ways: flawlessly beautiful or ridiculously laughable. For example, it has been a long-standing (almost militant) viewpoint of mine that if one should ever get the idea to fuse rap and hardcore to complete their band’s sound, that person should probably just throw in the towel, because it will most likely end up sounding undeniably horrendous. Yes, sadly, it looks like some people never learn. You just don’t mix certain things. Peanut butter and pickles? No good! Whiskey and chainsaws? No thanks! Sex and deadly, transmittable disease? Shut the fuck up! Blazing fire and gasoline? Hell no! But there are certainly those that know how to mix-and-match and do it with enough lethal precision to melt your fucking face clean off your skull. A prime example is Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s very own raging crossover outfit, Enabler.

Enabler combines the raging worlds of hardcore and grind, with noticeable influences from the likes of His Hero Is Gone, Integrity, Nasum, and at times, European death metal among others. Although this record involved a quartet, the band is now a fat-free three-piece, featuring an ex-member of Today Is The Day and Trap Them among its ranks (vocalist/guitarist Jeff Lohrber). Year One (Creator-Destructor Records) is essentially the band’s entire discography in one quick, venomous little package, remastered by Zack Ohren (Heartsounds, Animosity). Here, Eden Sank To Grief and War Begins With You are joined together in a war-ready digipak format that clocks in at just over half an hour in length.

Songs like opener, “Mercenary”, “Black Friday In Hell” and “Survival Kits” rip out of the speakers and through the listener’s unsuspecting brain like an H-bomb freight train from the black abyss of Hell itself. Blasting percussion, razor-edged riffing and Lohrber’s gravel-throated screams simply don’t let up until the record’s over. Lyrically, it seems quite apparent that Enabler have some inside knowledge of the imminent apocalypse or some similarly chaotic shitstorm. If proof is needed, listeners should look no further than the appropriately-titled “End Of The World Party”. Not actually present on the record’s outside track-listing, it features the grim statement, “I’ve drank too much to fuck on my last night on Earth…”. If that were true, then it would most definitely be an unfortunate situation. However, there would most definitely be a bright side to the oncoming fire. One needs to look at “Fucking Wartorn” to see that there’s still a gleam of hope in the eyes of these warriors. As the record continues, the vibe moves gradually from hardcore leanings to a more cyclonic grindcore stance (see closer, “Symbiosis“). Something that may definitely catch many off guard is the inclusion of a certain cover song. The punk-tinged Beastie Boys number, “Heart Attack Man” is presented in a decidedly more aggressive manner, doing a far better job at bringing the old-school hardcore riot to your front fucking door.

With Year One, Enabler has not only put their entire body of work out for all to experience if they so dare, but they have proven they have the right ingredients. Further, on display here is the unavoidable truth that Enabler is not a one-shot machine. Both records could easily stand on their own with immense strength. Putting them together was a wise decision, as it makes the whole journey that much more dangerous!!