Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Review: Enter Shikari - A Flash Flood of Colour

Music by Rou Reynolds, Rory Clewlow, Chris Batten and Rob Rolfe, lyrics by Rou Reynolds, produced by Dan Weller & Enter Shikari and published by Ambush Reality.

It's generally accepted that a band's second album is the 'difficult' one. Thinking from the musician's perspective, I imagine that it's more the case that every album is difficult. Will the critics rate it highly? Have we strengthened or comprised our style? Most importantly, will the fans react positively? Electronic rockers Enter Shikari probably battled with all these worries, what with their experimental style and vast fan-base. However, they have marshalled their talent and creativity, and have achieved another triumph with their third album, A Flash Flood of Colour.

Let's start off with the positives. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Enter Shikari as a band is Rou Reynolds' unique vocal style. Reynold's mix of snarling growls, sneering spoken-word, and soaring melodies is showcased perfectly in this album, especially in tracks like the metal/dubstep fusion 'Arguing With Thermometers'. Leading nicely on from the former point, A Flash Flood of Colour blends and contrasts musical styles to skilful effect. Enter Shikari don't use a variety of genres just for the sake of it or merely because they enjoy those types music – they do it because it encapsulates their message. The fury of metal and punk, the swagger of dubstep, the relentless speed of drum 'n' bass – these are the calling cards that display the band's passionate beliefs and challenges to society.

My favourite thing about Enter Shikari's latest album is that it represents the natural progression of the band maturing into their style. I particularly like that the band have continued to create more chilled tracks, such as 'Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here'. Yes, this album is a far cry from Take to the Skies, but that's not a bad thing. Enter Shikari clearly know who they want to be musically, and if you're not happy with that, then maybe you need to consider whether you're actually a true fan.

Onto the negatives. Let me say first that these are relatively minor complaints; this is a good album. However, A Flash Flood of Colour can be a little 'on the nose' lyrically at points. Yes, war is bad. Yes, corruption is bad. Yes, environmental awareness is good. We get the point. Another issue I have with the lyrical content of this album is the swearing. “What a prude,” I hear you mutter. This is a moral objection, but also one borne from my values as a writer. It's laziness to use foul language to convey a message, empty syllables that could be replaced by something a little more meaningful.

There are only a couple of other small criticisms I would level at Enter Shikari's third album. As I previously stated in my review of Common Dreads, I still think the guitars are a tiny bit lost in the mix, but there are a lot of other elements to blend so this doesn't bother me too much. I would also say that some of the tracks on this album are weak, like 'Hello Tyrannosaurus, Meet Tyrannicide', and the fact that the singles aren't included on the normal edition of record seems a bit cheap.

These negatives aren't massive hindrances in the path of Enter Shikari's latest musical offering. Despite some overly sincere lyrics and other minor flaws, A Flash Flood of Colour is a win for the band. This is a really great album for anyone who enjoys metal, electronica or a mixture of the two. I suggest you buy this album, turn the volume up, and enjoy.

Try this if you like: Chase and Status, The Devil Wears Prada, Hadouken!, Innerpartysystem, Killswitch Engage, Linken Park, Mad Capsule Markets, Nero, Pendulum, The Prodigy, Rage Against The Machine.

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