Common Dreads review by Enter Shikari

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Jun 15, 2009
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (76 votes)
Enter Shikari: Common Dreads
6

Sound — 10
From the opening few seconds of the intro, you can tell "Common Dreads" is going to be a beast of an album. The opening synths are typical of Enter Shikari's electronic sound, and the use of spoken word promises something special from the get-go. The first proper track, "Solidarity" opens with trancey synths and classic post-hardcore style guitaring; It's Enter Shikari in their rawest, basest form, as we've come to expect from "Take to the Skies"; but sudden breaks and elements of Dubstep hit you like a metric tonne of bricks in the face - by about 1:30 into the track, it's evident that this is really going to be something special. To say the least, Enter Shikari deliver; massive tracks like "Wall", "The Jester", "Hectic", and "Fanfare for the Conscious Man" are the real meat and gravy of the album, but complemented by forays into the more technical side of electronica, like "Havoc A" and "Havoc B", show that the boys have certainly matured from the old Post-Hardcore + Trance formula. On the electronic side, you can tell they've been out and about in the UK scene recently; Elements from both dubstep and dark jungle can be found on numerous tracks throughout the album. Of course, they've matured on the rock side as well; if you've previously swept this band to the side as just another "-core" act, then you're in for a massive surprise; in fact, theres arguably very little "-core" left on this album at all; the occasional chugga-chugga guitars, gang vocals, shouting, screaming, and spoken word are all thats left. Sometimes bordering on prog, and incredibly original, this is an album that show theres more to this band than we'd have first thought. The Heaviest/Evillest track on the album is "Zzzonked"; it seems to alternate between a dark, junglist electronic sound and very heavy metalcore sections; even the aforementioned -core haters could find something to love about this album, in terms of sheer originality if not for stylistic drive. One final point I'd like to make; do not judge the album on the singles "Antwerpen" and "Juggernauts" - as much as they're incredibly good tunes, they're gimicky at best when compared to the massive tracks that fill this album.

Lyrics — 8
Ridiculous. Utterly Ridiculous. Spoken word sections commenting on how community has broken down, and we need to "Unite, Unite, Unite"; lyrics stolen from the previous album and placed over slightly modified motifs; constant altering between extreme optimism and extreme cynicism for society as a whole. Brilliant, really. There's far fewer "sing-along moments" on this album, and in terms of vocal styles, theres a hell of a lot of spoken word and shouting, but it works. If you approach the lyrics from an intellectual perspective, its easy to pick holes, but the message is there, and it's a strong one.

Overall Impression — 10
As an album, it's incredible. As mentioned before, theres a few key tracks that really make it so good, but the rest of the album bulking it out is far from "filler" - the songs that dont have you on the edge of your seat in excitement are filled with enough cheeky musical ideas and overall genious to keep a listener interested from start to finish. The boys have really matured, and their sound is incredibly unique now. In terms of overall musical style, the only thing I can say is that there are elements of post-rock, prog, post-punk, post-hardcore, dubstep, electronica, and the classic trance/techno mix. Whether you hated or loved "Take to the Skies", I implore you to check this album out - it's worth your time.

35 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Fly-swatter
    _InsanitY_ wrote: downloading it now, am liking what i'm hearing. still, i much prefer the heavy riffs like old enter shikari, but s'all good.
    listen to solidarity. its f**king brutal.
    cleft11
    TTTS and Common Dreads are two completely different album. you cannot get more radio friendly than Jonny Sniper. Common Dreads is edgier and more modern IMHO. The synth in Solidarity is epic, while The Wall is lighthearted and a bit of fun, and Fanfare For The Conscious Man is a great outro. Forget the political meaning behind it before anyone starts complaining - it is about the music on the CD not the meaning behind it.
    4 strings
    absolutely incredible album, saw them today at the album release in london. INSANE
    coquet
    I only clicked on this because I thought it would be about Shakira.
    garager
    coquet wrote: I only clicked on this because I thought it would be about Shakira.
    i hope to god youre joking. Ive heard a few songs, Juggernauts, Antwerpen, Wall etc. I love them. Equally as good as old tracks
    Jackolas
    Find it funny people slate them for sounding cockney, more like mockney, not even from London..
    Hopdelker
    All the kids who screamed along to TTTS are naturally going to be shocked by this, but if you try not and be afraid of change, it's got some gorgeous music.
    TheReverend724
    some parts were really awesome while some parts really sucked (spoken word...its awful) synth parts are pretty cool decent album but not as good as take to the skies
    Brocky124
    A good album, but it doesn't sounds as brilliant as take it to the skies. but still it is a great album from enter shikari
    Jammey90
    If we're honest, this album isn't going to do well on a website called 'Ultimate-guitar.com' because they've stripped away a lot of the guitars in favour of synths. If you have an open(ish) mind to music, you'll like this album.
    piggyboy
    At first Common Dreads sounds a lot more radio friendly, but when you actually look into it, its more aggressive than TTTS. Sure the guitars have been stripped down and the metalcore screaming is gone, but Rou sounds geuinely angry throughout - and it shows. Even 'Juggernauts' is chaotic in a way in a way that even more mainstream listeners enjoy it - something which is very hard to do. In my opinion, I prefer this to TTTS.
    patch17
    I love some of this album, mainly stuff like Juggernauts thats not too heavy on the screamo side of things
    micro_erased
    Insane album i think, i loved TTTS but i still think this album is better and the sound is a hell of alot more mature and solid
    HibbyCal
    Great album. Very different, but in a good way. TTTS and Common Dreads are both amazing. Whole album varies, spoken word would sound stupid delivered any other way other than spoken.
    _InsanitY_
    downloading it now, am liking what i'm hearing. still, i much prefer the heavy riffs like old enter shikari, but s'all good.
    XtractionProces
    I don't know. I'm not too keen on what I've heard. It really sounds like they're trying to go radio.
    j-walk
    I imagine its hard to top skies but everyone tends to not like a follow up album at first.
    TechnoJesus™
    When I first heard the new cd i described it as a nostalgic acid trip. This is an awesome album and maybe their best work yet.
    cameronlindsay
    I'm really not keen on it at the moment. Prefer Take to the Skies. Juggernauts, Solidarity and Antwerpen are good tracks. To be honest I've not given the rest of it a chance. TTTS sounds more heavier...
    Hammerzeit
    I didn't like it. Seemed lyrically terrible in places. Some of the tracks are terrible, namely the 2 singles. Might just be my taste but it sounds really messy with the synth over the top and the spoken vocals were shit. Otherwise it's not too bad. Do yourself a favour if you haven't and pick up their first album.
    Streety2
    yeah fair enough TTTS was heavier but when the album is that good i dont give a shit if its heavy! i think they've changed for the better and this album is way better than TTTS, its more grown up and technical, as opposed to TTTS which was less mature and sounded more messy
    Paddy_s13
    I'm not sure yet. I'm finding some of the vocal parts sound way to much like The Streets (BLEH). Still has that funky techno sound. Who knows I wasn't overly keen on TTTS when I first heard it, so all in good time.
    ProtestYourHero
    I hate the people that are comparing the spoken word parts to Mike Skinner. Just because they have the same accent everyone assumes Rou is trying be like him which isnt the case. I think the album is excellent, it took me a few listens but now i love it. I think some songs are better than ones of TTTS. The band has involved and are much more technical with their playing. From listening to the album, Rory is bringing in all sorts of influences from RATM to Sikth which i love!
    MurrayAberdeen
    i think rou is trying to sing too much and lets face it, he cant sing for shit really. its a bit poppy really.