Taking to the skies on their own terms

Enter Shikari would have got to where they are without the help; such as it was a few months ago, from the music press. A classic case of the word of mouth rise, the band were selling out the London Astoria without a record deal or album to show for themselves and have stayed true to their roots by turning down everything the record company world could throw at them.

Tipping Enter Shikari for big things at the start of 2007 was like predicting the sun will come up tomorrow...something would have to go unspeakably wrong for it not to happen. Alongside the specialist rock press who had been watching their rise for some time, the NME and even tabloid newspapers were on the case, clearly realizing they were missing something, and the Juggernaut rumbled onwards towards the release of this debut album. It's worth noting however that Enter Shikari have been together since 2003 and have toured themselves into the ground long before the NME et al realized their were magazines to be shifted by writing about them.

It's worth reminding you at this stage that the type of music Enter Shikari make rarely sees them find their way onto the daytime playlist of Kerrang Radio let alone X FM, Radio 1 or...well who else would even be arsed frankly, and a number four peaking LP doesn't seem to have changed this. If you love Enter Shikari you will already own this album, but for those who've heard and read about them but are still unsure, what exactly has all the fuss been about?

It's fair to say they're really isn't another band like them, certainly not one from the UK that has made such an impact. Imagine mixing traditional metal, that thing that we're supposed to call 'Metalca', electronica and at times what can best be described as ambient dance music and you're heading in the general direction. This is a band who list Faithless and Comeback Kid among their choice cuts and, although it's far from new for musicians to have such broad musical horizons, it is unusual and clearly the thing which has captured the imagination for styles so far apart to be the basis for what a band does.

Having highlighted the lack of radio support outside specialist programming, this is actually something I find hard to understand because, amongst the screamo vocals and electronic trickery is plenty of catchy tunage. 'Mothership', recent single 'Anything Can Happen In The Next Half Hour' and for me the album's stand out track 'Labyrinth' are all great examples of this.

Also worthy of note are the short electronic tracks that bridge the main songs. 'Stand Your Ground; This Is Ancient Land' appears to be the intro to 'Enter Shikari' but is a track in it's own right, setting the album up nicely for the ride we're about to experience. A look down the tracklist shows Interlude's 1, 2 and 3, at times there's something of 'Screamadelica' Primal Scream to these pieces of music.

Some may argue that this album is trying too hard to remind the listener that Enter Shikari are influenced by two opposing styles. Later tracks also fail to ram home their authority in quite the way that songs in the first half of the record do, but for many this is why they're so popular.

It's not Enter Shikari's fault that sections of the press that wouldn't otherwise go near metal bands are falling over themselves in their praise of them, and there will unfortunately be music fans who will choose to dislike Enter Shikari for this very reason. The reality is that 'Take to the Skies' is an interesting album, but there will be better, more traditionally metal albums released this year and, once the novelty of what Enter Shikari do wares off it is unclear how long this record will stand the test of time. Respect is due though for what they've achieved and how they've got there.