Thursday, August 13, 2009

Album Review : Common Dreads - Enter Shikari****

For Fans Of : The Prodigy, Alexisonfire, Faith No More, Linkin Park

Enter Shikari's debut album Take To The Skies proved that only people with a decent knowledge of music should be able to write about music, half the rock press (and Kerrang especially) were beside themselves at the emergence of this 'totally new genre - dance/rave metal'. Yes, because if you ignore Faith No More, Pendulum, Ministry, Skinny Puppy and The Prodigy (amongst many others), then dance metal is an entirely new genre. Or on the other hand, perhaps it's just a guitar band with added keyboards.

For me, Take To The Skies showed promise, it was interesting without being awesome, the lyrics in places were indifferent and in between the good songs there was too much self indulgent noodling. Common Dreads is a very different animal. Musically Enter Shikari have melded their guitars and keyboards for a more coherent style on their second album, on TTTS they seemed to be striving towards in individual sound, on Common Dreads they have found their niche.

Their sound has a passing resemblance to Faith No More meets The Streets with lyrics now informed by Muse via Rage Against The Machine, Enter Shikari have become the angry young men of the crossover metal scene, the lords of the dance singing their way to social revolution.

Common Dreads is a tight and ferocious album, from the deceptively gentle opening clarion call of Common Dreads with it's call to rebellion, through the near chaos of the frenetic Zzonked and Havok B to the closing number Fanfare For The Conscious Mind there is no mistaking Enter Shikari's dedication to both good rock music and to liberal political causes.

"Our gracious Queen should grasp her crown,
and take a good fucking swing at Blair and Brown,
for leading her country into illegal warfare,
and trying to pass it off that we're doing it 'cos we care."

Singer Roughton Reynolds seems to be channeling the spirit of Zack De La Rocha, and although I can't help thinking that in places he sounds rather like Mike Skinner, it is on the whole an invigorating and uplifting success. Politics on the dance floor, rave and brawl with chants fomenting insurrection, the St. Albans four to pick up where RATM left off, it sounds unlikely but works beautifully.

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