Sunday, July 29, 2012

Enter Shikari - Common Dreads

Screamo band Enter Shikari released Common Dreads in 2009. Their past releases have gotten the attention of critics and listeners alike with their unique style of combining the sounds of hardcore punk and metalcore with electrifying synthesizers and techno. I would imagine that there are a few HUGE fans of this band, but most people that I’ve talked to either consider them mediocre/average or completely atrocious; I agree with the latter. I first heard this record a little over two years ago when a friend showed me the song Solidarity (which I will talk about later). Even then, being a much bigger screamo fan than I am now, I really didn’t like the sound that Enter Shikari brought to the board. After being extremely disappointed with Common Dreads, I decided to listen to Take to the Skies, the album previous to Common Dreads…but it wasn’t any better at all; in fact, it was much worse. But I find Common Dreads easier and more interesting to discuss because it’s just the overall musical quality and complete lack of effort that makes Take to the Skies so bad. The things wrong with Common Dreads are just…”Dreadful”.

The ideas and goals behind Enter Shikari have a lot of potential, and have been pulled off in similar forms by other screamo bands such as Asking Alexandria, I See Stars, and Attack Attack!. Enter Shikari know all of the things they need to do to make this fusion sound good…but they couldn’t do it to get another pair of pants. In other words, these guys can’t do ANYTHING right! They can’t write, they’re one of the most unorganized metal bands I’ve ever heard, they can’t play their instruments, the way everything is produced and mixed only does further damage to the already hopeless sound, and they seem to be confused as to what they’re trying to play.

I like my screamo to be very powerful and epic. One thing that can really up the power-factor is a good crunchy guitar distortion. The guitars on Common Dreads aren’t even DISTORTED! It sounds like they could be, but it’s so slight that it weakens the music. Throughout the whole album, I’m eagerly waiting for the guitars to get LOUDER and MORE DISTORTED! But NOOOOO!! They want to fucking tease (or torture) you in order to get you to listen to the whole album and get their songs stuck in your head and never forget the day you listened to Enter Shitari.

The vocals are fucking atrocious. Yes, that’s the hardcore punk influence I was talking about, but his yells are fucking WEAK! He doesn’t have the really gravely rough voice he’s supposed to have. His yells have NO energy and NO emotion or dynamics anywhere in the album. His screams are so bad they aren’t even worth pure liquid shit, that’s all I have to say about that. The singing is the worst part. He can’t sing in-tune at all, the harmonizations suck, and there’s no color OR dynamics in his singing. Although there is a shift in pitch, the volume of his singing never changes. So he can’t yell, sing OR scream…WHY IS THIS GUY EVEN A FUCKING MEMBER OF THE BAND!?

The songs don’t have any structure whatsoever. Let’s dissect Solidarity to see what I’m talking about. The song opens with the only good thing this album carries: the one keyboard riff. This opening keyboard riff gets the listener expecting a LOUD and highly distorted hardcore punk-styled opening lead by the guitars. But instead you get the soft, mushy sound of the weak guitars which is then followed by the extremely annoying loud talking (it’s not even yelling anymore, I’ve made that decision). After that goes on for a while, you get introduced to singing that’s better off being auto-tuned. Ok, the song seems to have some solid structure, then right as you’re thinking that, the song COMPLETELY falls apart. You get a…what I think is supposed to be a breakdown (I’m not sure at this point), which contains sudden breaks in the music where…what the hell?

A random electronic sound. That’s the best these guys can do during a breakdown. When bands pause, you usually get a really fast drum fill…BUT NOOOOO!! You had to go ahead and put in that really weird…whatever it was so that you could get some cheap laughs and say “HAHA, FOOLED YA!” After that breakdown, everything seems to be randomly generated and rushed (the music itself isn’t rushed, the writing process was rushed). It sounds like each member wanted to put something different into the song, and the band decided to put all of the things in the same song in order to make everyone happy. This guy here wanted a breakdown, Rou here wants to have plenty of techno, Rory here wants a more melodic sound, and so on and so forth.

Common Dreads is an embarrassment. I’m embarrassed by the fact that I actually waste time THINKING about it. THIS ALBUM IS ATROCIOUS, DO NOT GET THIS RECORD! I’m giving this album 1/20 for being one of the worst albums I’ve heard in a LONG time. This is the last time I will ever waste brain space on this band.