ENTER SHIKARI — Take To The Skies (review)

ENTER SHIKARI — Take To The Skies album cover Album · 2007 · Electronicore Buy this album from MMA partners
2/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
Once the 21st century hit, all the “core” styles of metal really starting to get experimental with emphasis on cross-pollinating completely unrelated musical styles. One of the more successful of these came in the form of electronicore, also known as trancecore or synthcore which took the traditional metalcore instrumentation and style including breakdowns and married it with a heavy use of sequencers, samplers, synthesizers and other effects hitherto only experienced in electronic dance music such as IDM, psybient, psytrance and dubstep.

One of the first bands to go this route was the English band ENTER SHIKARI that formed out of the ashes of the hardcore band Hybryd. After a series of short EPs (“Nodding Acquaintance,” “Anything Can Happen In The Next Half Hour,” “Sorry You’re Not A Winner) the band which consisted of four core members and another five to provide “gang” vocals, released their debut TAKE TO THE SKIES in 2006 and has become famous for achieving significant chart success as a completely independent release on their own Ambush Reality.

Mostly due to touring and internet interaction with the fanbase, TAKE TO THE SKIES eventually went on to sell over 200,000 copies. This debut takes the liberty to re-record many of the demo tracks and spruce them up with better production. The success of TAKE TO THE SKIES naturally opened the doors for a whole legion of followers with bands like Crossfaith, Fatal FE, FACT and I See Stars finding new ways to add even more elements such as brostep, emo-pop, eurodance and even djent. As a pioneer in the genre ENTER SHIKARI pretty much sticks to melodic metalcore as its base and then adds healthy doses of synthesized trance music.

TAKE TO THE SKIES attempts to forge a new style of hybridization that marries two completely unrelated musical genera but in the end feels like a rough draft. The metalcore aspects are pretty mediocre in their delivery with Roughton Reynolds’ vocals mostly being performed in a clean style of singing rather than the expected frenetic screaming. Oddly enough the band reminds me of Linkin’ Park in the sense that they find a middle ground between metal presentation with more atmospheric backdrops except they don’t muster up the same sort of catchy hooks.

Overall this album doesn’t quite gel the two styles together very well and at an almost hour’s playtime gets rather dull by the time it’s done playing. None of the musicians have the chops to pull off a really stellar metalcore performance and the silly call and response “gang” vocals are actually quite annoying. Likewise the trance parts are rather bland with only a generic haze as opposed to full-on interesting keyboard stabs that add some meat to the product. In the end, i’m quite underwhelmed with ENTER SHIKARI’s first offering. It’s a big yawner for me.
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