Enter Shikari

entershik1The Mindsweep by Enter Shikari (Hopeless Records)

On January 20th, Enter Shikari made their official Hopeless Records debut with The Mindsweep – a very defining move in sound establishment by the English foursome.

There seems to be an underlying concept to this record. Close your eyes and lay down with it in your ears and you’re flying through the cosmos, enjoying a digitally ambient selection of tunes intersparsed with passionate poetry. Yes, I mean poetry.

Front man Rou Reynolds is and has been truly poetic in some of his deliveries during his tenure in Enter Shikari. The introductory track of this album, The Appeal and the Mindsweep Pt. 1 melts like butter, moving spoken word along a beautifully controlled crescendo. When it drops, it’s super powerful and in much the same way, it’s very different. Try not to think too hard about picking your jaw up off the ground…you might as well leave it there; The Mindsweep is a journey that will surprise even the most avid Enter Shikari listener.

entershik2I say this because the band seems to have found an equilibrium of control in the writing and production of their songs. Everything runs together so tightly. There’s something really raw about the screams, yells and even the accompaniment. I commend Enter Shikari and their production team for being able to create this feeling in a genre otherwise muddled by accusations of being completely generic — particularly because of their electronic elements.

This record really kicks in with The One True Color — You can feel the profundity that Rou Reynolds conveys in this ambient jam. This song serves as a true demonstration of Enter Shikari’s ability to mesh the synths with powerfully progressive instrumentals without creating any dissonance.

Even general EDM listeners will get a kick out of tracks like The Last Garrison and Torn Apart. These songs give the electronic aspect of this record a well-deserved opportunity to shine. In contrast to prevalent thought about electronic elements in post-hardcore music, there is a real individuality to what Enter Shikari is producing. The connection between each of the musicians and their craft in this record is refreshing — perhaps revolutionary. The truth about The Mindsweep is that you really haven’t heard anything else that sounds like it.

Even earlier Enter Shikari albums don’t really hold a candle to this one in my mind. There’s something more melodic and consonant about Reynolds’ voice in the choruses of these tracks. Since the band released the very lengthy A Flash Flood of Color in early 2012, it’s evident that they’ve been working on their togetherness and instrumental implementation. Rather than a cacophonous mixture of wobbling saws and bass with exceedingly progressive drums, we hear what can only be the result of creative maturity. Give The Bank of England a careful listen if you want to know exactly what I’m talking about.

The instrumental team of Rob Rolfe (drums), Chris Batten (Bass) and Rory Clewlow (guitar) really couldn’t have come together in a more resonant way. Rolfe seems to have more control in contrast to their last record, and the guitars, as previously mentioned, mesh beautifully with the synths.

Something worth discussing is the six and a half minute cool-down that is Dear Future Historians…. This track directly follows the powerful There’s a Price on Your Head (which, in a strange way, reminds this reviewer of Hypnotize era System of a Down). If you really want to hear Reynolds demonstrate his vocal maturity, give both of these tracks a thorough listen. You’ll hear a different man on each track. It’s kind of difficult to come to terms with the fact that the same man is singing, but when you wrap your head around it…it makes this record all the more impressive.

Can your emotions handle a pretty difficult coming of age story? Not to say that Reynolds is coming of age, or anyone else in the band for that matter…but rather, Enter Shikari as an entity and as a whole has grown and found an extremely definitive sound. In this reviewer’s opinion, they’ve found a sound that they need to absolutely stick with. I’m going to give this a solid 4.5/5 — I genuinely hope we do not have to wait another 3 years for a new Enter Shikari record.

(Review by Zachary S. Valladon)

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