Enter Shikari have been the band to push their blend of Post-Hardcore, Metalcore and Electronica for quite some time now. Their approach to song-writing has always been slightly satirical and nearly always political, often sounding like what it would sound like if Russell Brand were to be in a metal band. That may sound like a disastrous combination but in the past, there have been times when they’ve hit the nail on the head like on a lot of the moments from their last album ‘A Flash Flood Of Colour’.
A lot of the time one side of their sound suffers so that the other half can succeed; if the electronic side is sounding prominent (which it often does), then the metal side of things will sound quite generic and…tacky, and vice versa. That hasn’t changed on this record as when they do decide to try to go more heavy it falls flat in a lot of spots. For one, they have some guitar riffs that you couldn’t pick out of a line-up and secondly, Rou Reynolds’ scream, which was never that brilliant to begin with but was definitely passable, sounds more strained than ever.
In other spots they do succeed though; Reynolds has always had a soft spot for spoken word pieces in their songs but here more than ever he sounds like he’s actually rapping like on the first half of the track ‘Never Let Go Of The Microscope’ which is one of the albums’ better moments. It’s not in your face rapping and doesn’t sound like some sort of nu-metal track either because it’s hard to shake the fact that he’s got a voice that sounds like it was built for spoken word. Before the track descends into more of their post-hardcore madness it’s actually one of the more pretty moments in Enter Shikari’s discography, with the guitar leads being delicate, and a chorus that’s sung with a decent falsetto.
Lyrically Enter Shikari actually asked fans what they wanted to hear them talk about and explore on this album. Which is why it’s a shock that one of the only real places this album is consistent is in what they’re saying and how passionately they’re delivering it. ‘anaesthetist’ strongly delivers a message to David Cameron and all the others who want to privatize the NHS in England. Lyrically they always deliver passionately and with vast amounts of wit, it’s just a shame that it’s surrounded by music that is so inconsistent with what it’s trying to be.
It’s times like these whether you wonder Enter Shikari should try and embrace fully one side of their sound. At the moment it certainly sounds like if they were to go down the route of the more electronic sounds then they would be in a much better position. They have the lyrical abilities, the abilities to create great melodies, they just don’t have the best of abilities when it comes to combining the genres they love to dabble in. There are moments all over this album like the beginning of ‘Myopia’ where the sounds that they’re coming up with are really inventive, they need to embrace that side of themselves instead of diving into riffs that’ll just be there to please crowds when they’re playing live.