Review: Enter Shikari – The Mindsweep

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Disjointed

Should've kept going with the usual, but improved, initial scream-dubstep hybrid - ended up spoiling the early promise.

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Three years after their last full-length record, Enter Shikari are back with the evocative and thought-inducing album The Mindsweep.

The opening track, ‘The Appeal & The Mindsweep I’ builds momentum before exploding with that trademark Enter Shikari sound, a very impressive start. The frenetic pace doesn’t relent though, with latest single ‘Anaesthetist’ an incredibly forceful, in terms of vocal expression, with the meaning behind it even further rammed down the throat of the listener with it’s hard-hitting video. Best song on the album, a must-listen.

The first released single, ‘The Last Garrison’, shows more than any other track that ‘The Mindsweep’ incorporates even more of an electronic sound than any of their previous albums, showing the four-piece’s evolution as a band after 12 years in the spotlight. The contrasting genres evident in most of the bands’ work could mean a Marmite love-it-or-hate-it scenario, of which I am definitely the former – Rou Reynolds’ heavy vocals once again complement the almost-dubstep hook with aplomb.

After the explosive start, it does noticeably tone down in the middle of the record – less of the electronics and screaming in small, but heavy, doses – which, although I would really enjoy ‘Myopia’ and ‘Torn Apart’ if they were separate from the album, is a slight disappointment. It almost feels like they scrap the electronic influence for few minutes, with especially ‘Torn Apart’ sounding very different to the first four vividly volatile tracks.

Then bam, ‘There’s A Price On Your Head’ comes out of nowhere and after all that momentum loss in the previous tracks it just feels like too much of jump back to the trademark screaming and electronic influences. Although the opinions of the band have been shown through the fierce but arguably justified lyrics, the transition to this song actually left me slightly confused at what genre the album actually was.

The final track, ‘The Appeal & The Mindsweep II’, is actually a really good song that fits the picture I was initially painting of this album. Unfortunately the disastrous genre-change in the second half spoil what could’ve been an absolute masterpiece – personally they should’ve been braver and continued the ‘scream-dubstep’ hybrid.

Having said this, the singles already released are very good and there are a couple of tracks in there that, although very different to the rest of the album, are very decent stand-alone songs. The best thing about the album as a whole is the effect the thoughtful lyrics have on the audience – Enter Shikari use these brilliantly to convey their views on politics and society in general.

The Mindsweep was released on 19th January 2015.

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