Reviews

ALBUM: Enter Shikari – Common Dreads

Release Date: June 15th, 2009
Label: Ambush Reality
Rating: 8/10

Website: www.entershikari.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/entershikari

Enter Shikari profile

With the St. Alban’s debut ‘Take To The Skies’, four-piece Enter Shikari brought mainly old songs which over time they had perfected and honed over years of shows, re-writes, and various re-recordings. So when album number two was coming along and the band announced it was going to have a political and economic driven influence aswell as having to write entirely new material, many had doubts as to how well the boys could pull it off. Come June 2009 and ‘Common Dreads’ is the end result, delivering exactly what the band had said they would in their post-hardcore/trance fashion. With the world in such a shit state right now, many bands are having their say about it, though no-one thought that Enter Shikari would be one of such bands – but maybe they were always in some sense trying to deliver an important message in a more metaphorical sense.

The sound of Enter Shikari hasn’t altered much over the past two years, if anything they’ve only matured and expanded their capabilities. ‘Solidarity’ soars things off with a fast-paced trance intro taking us to frontman Rou Reynold‘s yelled “Here tonight I clock a thousand heads / Here to unite through common dreads”; summing up the whole album’s message in just one sentence, before galloping to a choir assisted climax. Lead single ‘Juggernauts’ contains much of the same properties – the quick lead synth riff along with a balance of clean Mike Skinner-esque vocals, with little bursts of screams here and there. This time around, the band has even dwelled into much heavier and chaotic regions with ‘Zzzonked’. The more dub-step influence on the music along with it takes the band and their sound onto new yet familiar ground for them to work upon, and clearly showcases Rou‘s deep anger upon the world’s current state of affair. Where the synth is involved, things have clearly dipped into various different genres and chucking them into Enter Shikari‘s mix, and churned into different and experimental products – which have all turned out in their favour. ‘The Jester’ is definitely a weird one that will stick out, bringing in a funky almost metallic sounding dance input halfway through. Combined with its heavy and aggressive nature, you get confused as whether you should dance or mosh along to it.

Just as much as the band have brushed upon heavier sounds, they’ve still got the more mellow and radio-friendly inserts; such as ‘No Sleep Tonight’ and ‘Wall’, though still based around the album’s overall message of current affairs. These two are definitely the more approachable and sing-a-long moments in the record – though admittedly they don’t approach anywhere near the timid nature of ‘Adieu’ or ‘Today Won’t Go Down In History’ from the band’s debut effort. Fun memories of the member’s times past come out in ‘Hectic’, referring to going “To the multi-storey car park with our friends / Drinking from a bottle of White Lightning” and playing “Sega Megadrive, Golden Axe and Sonic all day” helps bring the tone of serious to fun for a short moment.

Enter Shikari claimed they’d deliver the goods, and that’s exactly what they did. ‘Common Dreads’ is a huge expansion and step up from their 2007 debut, and chucks in a load of new things whilst improving upon the old. In their own words, “Here comes another Juggernaut!”.

Written by Zach Redrup

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SINGLE: Enter Shikari – Juggernauts

Release Date: June 1st, 2009
Label: Ambush Reality
Rating: 8/10

Website: www.entershikari.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/entershikari

Enter Shikari profile

It’s always nice when something you get does exactly what it does on the tin, and ‘Juggernauts’ is one of such things – the first release from Enter Shikari since November’s re-recorded ‘We Can Breathe In Space…’ and the first to be taken from the band’s eagerly awaited upcoming album ‘Common Dreads’.

Fast-paced electronic synth lines from the first second drives the political and enviromentally aware-led anthem into a Mike Skinner-esque verse, speaking of the world as a home “Now don’t get me wrong, I love what you’ve done with the place / I just wish we had a chance to help build it / Instead of just moving into this home of disrepair / And expect it to work, prosper, and then share”. This slowed-down pace doesn’t last though, the band bludgeoning us with frontman Rou Reynold‘s yell of “Switch!” back into the synth and rock attack for the remaining two and half minutes of audio chaos. We only meet calm once again in the closing seconds of single acoustic and vocal chorus, making diversity as important and present as excitement in this effort.

For the protection of yourself and others around please keep your arms, legs, and everything else away from the speakers – Enter Shikari are back with a big one!

Written by Zach Redrup

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LIVE: Enter Shikari @ University, Keele (05/10/2008)

Date: October 5th, 2008
Venue: University, Keele
Support: Flood Of Red, P-Dex

Rating: 10/10

Website: www.entershikari.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/entershikari

Enter Shikari profile

With a highly anticipated second album on the horizon, and a new single out in a few days time, Enter Shikari are once again a band that is hot on everyone’s lips at the moment, and tonight at Keele University they plan on engraving the reason why this is the case, playing the smaller venues on the current tour so they don’t miss out the little people out there.

Every few dates into the tour the band have a different band as their support act, and Keele are one of the few dates to have Scotland’s Flood Of Red (**) and their post-hardcore offerings. Maybe it’s the slightly more restrictive nature of the stage they’re on tonight, but compared to their usual efforts Flood Of Red are fairly tame – or maybe even so far to say as dull, and this is even shown in their choice of songs in their setlist. Sure, they played hard-hitting favourites like ‘Don’t Sleep, Swim!’ and ‘An Hour Away’, but for the most part their songs stayed on the mellower side of their material. They even shoved in a rather obscure drum orientated interlude in-between some of their songs, with every member equipped with sticks in their hand and smashing some form of drum or cymbal. None the less, despite their restrictive presence they put on a somewhat ‘entertaining’ performance.

An unexpected surprise is nice here and there, and for this one Enter Shikari have lined up a DJ set in the form of P-Dex (****). He’s simply warming the crowd up for tonight’s headliners, and boiling their energetic juices with a range of drum ‘n’ bass and dance/trance tunes to get them in the mood for the dance/rock hybrid band.

It’s not long before Enter Shikari (*****) come out with their guns blazing, playing tracks like ‘No Sssweat’, ‘Return To Energiser’, and ‘The Feast’, all the while the crowd is going absolutely ballistic and creating and frantic frenzy to this bands presence. The circle pits made are large and wide in size, and big with intensity and energy, sometimes occupying more than a few dozen people dancing the night away. At times this went out of control, and people were throwing themselves around like old rag dolls, but this didn’t downgrade the show put on by the band. Aswell as some oldies, Enter Shikari reveled some of the new album material on the way, including ‘Step Up’ and ‘Hectic’, which is already showing a whole new level above the previous work on Take To The Skies, and have obviously been worked on a lot to be played so well live already. Old favourites get the crowd pumping again, with words sung across the whole room to the likes of ‘Mothership’, aswell as the infamous clap moment featured in their hit-single, ‘Sorry, You’re Not A Winner’. The room literally is a total mess, and the floor is filled with tired and sweaty fans thirsty for more. For a very short while the band take off the stage, and return to begin an encore, yet bassist Chris Batten seemed to have damaged his amp speakers. However, after a short few moments of banter and jokes the band are ready to perform, bouncing straight into an electrifying shot of ‘Enter Shikari’ and the room just bellows the opening screams of “Shit! Shit!” from the top of their lungs, and everyone is dancing and flinging themselves around like fools again. The final song ‘We Can Breathe In Space, They Just Don’t Want Us To Escape’ is when everyone is making the most of the last few minutes they can, frontman Rou Reynolds even jumps from the stage to the barrier one final time to get involved and scream one final time at the crowd that gave Enter Shikari the reaction they so rightly deserve.

Written by Zach Redrup

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SINGLE: Enter Shikari – We Can Breathe In Space, They Just Don’t Want Us To Escape

Release Date: November 3rd, 2008
Label: Ambush Reality
Rating: 7/10

Website: www.entershikari.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/entershikari

Enter Shikari profile

With it being a good while since the release and major hype of their debut album ‘Take To The Skies’, it’s about time they gave us something new to refresh our minds as to why we love Enter Shikari so much. As with all their previously released material, ‘We Can Breathe In Space, They Just Don’t Want Us To Escape’ as a slice of fun and energetic post-hardcore music fused with electronic input.

Though ‘We Can Breathe In Space…’ is fairly known anyway due to an old demo of the track floating around online, this reinvented and reworked effort revives and replenishes its old form and gives it a new face. Despite this though, it doesn’t quite seem up to scratch to what you’d expect, slightly lacking that huge kick in the face Enter Shikari is known for. But, it’s none the less welcomed with wide open arms as a bridge from the previous album to the next.

Nice one lads, we’ve missed you.

Written by Zach Redrup

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ALBUM: Enjoy Destroy – Little Dreams

Release Date: March 17th, 2008
Label: Fire One Records
Rating: 7/10

Website: www.enjoydestroy.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/enjoydestroy

Enjoy Destroy profile

When listening to ‘Little Dreams’, you’d find it pretty hard to believe that such talent and raw velocity would come from a band where the members are as young as under their 20’s. However, Basingstoke’s Enjoy Destroy seem to manage it with no problem at all.

Their album opener, and also first single release from the album ‘Mactier’ pretty much sums up in a nutshell what you’re to find in the core of this record; emotional vocals, energetic music, and sing-a-long lyrics and chorus hooks plentiful throughout. The closing repeated lines “I guess it’s just a matter of taste”, phasing us off into the next 10 tracks of what is ‘Little Dreams’.

As mentioned earlier, this album has plenty of catchy chorus which you want to sing, or in some cases chant along to. This is evident in tracks such as ‘Cities’ with the “Na-na-na, na-na-na”, and a similar feature in the track ‘Screamer’, with a long sustained “Yeah!” brought in at various parts in the chorus. Enjoy Destroy know how to get these songs stuck in your head, and in most cases get you playing the song again, and again.

Although for the most part of the album you’ll get the impression that Enjoy Destroy come off as sort of a younger, rawer, and arguably slightly more exciting version of Feeder at their heaviest, they also have their moments of mellowing out and taking things a little slower. The track the album takes it’s name from ‘Little Dreams’ is just one of such examples, opening the track with a slow guitar riff and soft vocals drawing you ever so closer as the song slowly builds up into a climax.

‘LBJ’ has a similar effect too, with softer and calmer sections of the song being presented before the songs blows up into an explosive chorus. It also shows a darker a much more sinister side of Enjoy Destroy than you’re likely to find in any of their catalogue to this date, with lines such as “How many kids did you kill today?” revealing something a little more macabre onto the listener’s palette.

Enjoy Destroy are young, and though they have much more to learn and develop upon, they certainly have the time and the talent to pull it off. ‘Little Dreams’ has almost everything on offer; calm sections, moments that just explode, and catchy sing-a-long hooks just to sweeten your appetite.

Written by Zach Redrup

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SINGLE: Enjoy Destroy – Little Dreams

Release Date: October 22nd, 2007
Label: Fire One Records
Rating: 7/10

Website: www.enjoydestroy.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/enjoydestroy

Enjoy Destroy profile

To coincide with their debut album release – ‘Little Dreams’ – Basingstoke’s Enjoy Destroy release their next single lifted from the record, which is of the same name.

The song builds up from a slow and quiet guitar riff of individually picked notes, up until the half-way point where the band blasts into a full force of music and energy. Although this single is good, it’s not the best the band have come up with, and may not neccesarily be a stand-out track on their album for most people. However, that certainly doesn’t mean that the song disappoints, with the force given from this song being much more entertaining and engaging than most of the offerings we get from the mainstream radio charts.

A must have for the already converted hoardes of die-hards, and a neat little introduction to the album for everyone else. A job well done.

Written by Zach Redrup

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LIVE: Reuben @ Academy 3, Manchester (24/09/2007)

Date: September 24th, 2007
Venue: Academy 3, Manchester
Support: Enjoy Destroy, Kill Kenada

Rating: 8/10

Website: www.wordsfromreuben.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/wordsfromreuben

Reuben profile

‘In Nothing We Trust’ is Reuben‘s most recent release and their third full-length studio album, and they’ve recently embarked on a UK tour to accompany and promote this album. On these dates, they’re accompanied by small UK support acts Enjoy Destroy and Kill Kenada. Everyone at the venue has got to have at least heard of Reuben to be here, and most are probably here just for them, and with the band having one of the most dedicated fan bases around you can assume instantly that the atmosphere and reaction from the crowd is going to be immense.

Opening support act Enjoy Destroy hit the stage to start the night’s antics. Consisting of members that look like they could all be related to one another and a frontman who sings, plays guitar AND plays the keyboard on top of that, they deliver melodic alternative rock and soften the audience for the next two upcoming acts. They’re merely just preparing slowly but surely for the experience they’ll get from second support band, Kill Kenada.

One of the more atmospheric and experimental bands we’ve seen recently, Kill Kenada open their set with a short instrumental. This band look like a group of three misfits; there’s guitarist Danny Williams, who dresses fashionably according to today’s standards, drummer Eldge who looks like he could play in a metal/hardcore band, and a make-up wearing bassist and frontman Tim Smithen – who has tattoos dotted in various areas across both arms including the likes of Gloomy Bear and characters from the video game Pac-Man. However, when a band sounds as intense as Kill Kenada do tonight it wouldn’t matter if one dressed like Darth Vader, another like an Umpa Lumpa, and another like a Womble. Their songs mainly tell of anger, rage, and self-hatred with chorus lines such as “I fucking hate myself!”, and they get the audience pumped up and ready for tonight’s headliners.

After a 30 minute interval the room fades to black, and headliners Reuben soon jump to the stage. Wearing black shirts with the letters ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ on front of them, (from the video of their recent single – ‘Deadly Lethal Ninja Assassin’), the band begin their set with ‘Suffocation Of The Soul’. As soon as Jamie Lenman begins the opening lyrics “I thought that I was full of such hope and light, and such love” the fans instantly sing the words straight back at him, and this is the way it is for the entire duration of the gig. They scream, they sing, and just throw the lyrics straight back into the band’s face, and in some occasions they even overpower Jamie‘s voice through their amplifiers.

A few songs later the band play ‘Everytime A Teenager Listens To Drum & Bass, A Rockstar Dies’, and during the drum sample opening Jamie starts doing a robot dance, “Everyone join in and do the robot dance”, and just like that over half the crowd join in with Jamie and Jon‘s techno dancing. Clearly a band who aren’t afraid to reveal their humourous side and give their fans a good laugh along with their performance.

A few songs further into the set and the band come to play recent single release ‘Deadly Lethal Ninja Assassin’, but before they even play a single note Jamie grabs a huge heavy metal guitar, but has trouble trying to plug it into his effects pedals, and rants to the crowd afterwards “This bad boy’s more trouble than it’s worth… but I look awesome!” and the entire venue sends out a chuckle, another humorous venture. The night is coming to a close, and Reuben play the last song on their set list flawlessly, ‘A Short History Of Nearly Everything’, and just like every other song on their set their fans are singing back every word like a melodic serenade.

The last screams end what came to be a fantastic night out, underdogs Reuben do it once again. When a band’s live performace is of this level and calibre, it’s a wonder why this band aren’t much bigger already. They’ve got the skill, the technique, the humour, and have certainly got the dedication in their fans.

Written by Zach Redrup

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SINGLE: Enjoy Destroy – Screamer

Release Date: October 22nd, 2007
Label: Fire One Records
Rating: 9/10

Website: www.enjoydestroy.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/enjoydestroy

Enjoy Destroy profile

Enjoy Destroy have not long finished a UK tour supporting Reuben during late September and early October, and now they’ve got single ‘Screamer’ for us to listen to.

Exciting from the start, crunching guitar riffs open this sound perfectly and sets the right mood for what the rest of the song is. Although simple it’s very effective. Once you reach the chorus it’s clear why this song’s entitled ‘Screamer’, with an obvious sing-a-long chorus that will get stuck in your head with ease; “Don’t you dare / Don’t you dare / Don’t forget it now.” This is obvious single material.

‘Screamer’ is a monster of a song, and a good piece of alternative rock if that’s what you’re into, and probably the best thing to ever come out of Basingstoke. If you’ve not heard these guys before, there’s no point in waiting much longer and missing out.

Written by Zach Redrupbr>

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LIVE: Misery Signals @ Moho Live, Manchester (27/09/2009)

Date: September 27th, 2009
Venue: Moho Live, Manchester
Support: Empires Fade, The Number 12 Looks Like You, Your Demise

Rating: 7/10

Website: www.miserysignals.net
MySpace: www.myspace.com/miserysignals

Misery Signals profile

2009 has been a busy year for the boys in Misery Signals; constant touring across various countries and continents with various bands and a few festivals here and there, all to promote the band’s latest full-length ‘Controller’. The band even have a t-shirt available on this last leg with all the venues and dates they’ve done this year, and they nearly ran out of room. Definitely a big year.

On their last few dates for a good long time, Moho Live in Manchester starts off with a local support act, Empires Fade (***). Though they’re clearly not veterans in their style, the Mancunian 5-piece aren’t a band to just dismiss. Energetic and brutal from the get go, their metalcore presence on the stage is welcomed by both the familiar and the less so, with many of their local fans often running up to grab the mic out of vocalist Alex‘s hands.

Things are tuned to more frantic and crazy, though at times arguably more melodic for The Number 12 Looks Like You (****) and their huge funnel of influences to power them. Though this is their first time on UK shores even with 4 successful albums under their belts, it’s clear that it’s been an eagerly awaited event for many to see the mathcore band in the flesh. Steering mainly towards newer material like ‘The Garden’s All Nighters’ and ‘Jay Walking Backwards’, the recent loss of second vocalist Justin Pedrick is obvious, but the solo efforts of Jase Korman are admirable serve the 4-piece more than enough justice, and make the UK’s wait worthwhile and rewarding.

Leed’s based Your Demise (*****) turn things to cataclysmic levels of insanity. Literally seconds into the band’s set, the crowd implodes into a field of hardcore dancers and mosh pits, and those not involved rush to the front screaming lyric for lyric of each song. Newly recruited vocalist Ed McRae is on top form, jumping in on the action before him whilst screaming his heart out. At the look of the crowd’s reaction to the band and their material, you wouldn’t be surprised if those unfamiliar to this scene thought that they were the main act, becoming a tough support act to top.

Sadly Misery Signals (***) can’t quite cut it. It’s not that they don’t put on a great show, full of raw energy as per usual, it’s just tonight the band can’t quite pull it off as well as some of the supporting acts. The fact that frontman Karl Schubach is suffering from a cold may be a contributer to this slight dent on this show of the tour, but ultimately the band might just be having an off night. Still, numbers like ‘Weight Of The World’ and ‘A Certain Trigger’ still manage to erupt an impressive pit none the less, and can safely leave the band with the knowledge that things could’ve gone a lot worse.

Written by Zach Redrup

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ALBUM: Elysia – Lion Of Judas

Release Date: June 10th, 2008
Label: Ferret Music
Rating: 4/10

Website: None available
MySpace: www.myspace.com/elysia

Elysia profile

With a band name like Elysia, the name of the final resting place of Roman Mythology, you would expect this same band to create something meaningful and creative, wheather it were to be deliver melodically or as a heavy juggernaught. Elysia have taken the heavy route chugging powerful riffs and drum lines, with accompanying violent vocal work spat out by frontman Zak Vargas, but seem to have forgotten important factors in ‘Lion Of Judas’.

When you shove the CD into your stereo, or in your PC system, there’s no doubt that you’re going to be attacked by some good hard-balled metal tracks, and 9 of them coming at you non-stop, like ‘Lack Of Culture’ and ‘Crown Of Thorns’. However, if you get bored easily by repetition then you’re not going to want to listen to this album a lot, especially the whole thing in one sitting. Where the vocal work is aggressive and exciting it is also constant and varies very little, with guitar lines and chords seeming to be constantly churned and recycled with the occassional introduction of something new from time to time.

With those bad points aside though, if you’re one who has great patience and loves hardcore metal then this could just be your thing. The vocal work combination of Zak Vargas and Jon Malinowski compliment one another well, with the guitar input from Garrett Gilardi and Chris Cain being far from synchronised. It’s just a shame that this band didn’t try and create something that had a little more variety to it than that in ‘Lion Of Judas’.

Written by Zach Redrup

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