Returning after a three year absence with The Mindsweep, Enter Shikari are on spectacular form, creating an epic album that is as conceptually ambitous as their live show.
There is no denying the energy from the get go, as singer "Rou" Reynolds opens proceedings with a poetic call to arms on 'The Appeal & The Mindsweep 1' (think of it as Scroobius Pip meets Sikth).
The themes of the record become clear when Reynolds says: "To muzzled masses that lead lives of deafening desperation: / With Excalibur aloft King Arthur earned the throne / But it's our minds we got to wrench out of the stone". It is a record angry about the status quo and the ruling classes but also a celebration of the socially conscious community found below. It uses the "biochemistry" mentioned on 'Dear Future Historians' as a metaphor for society itself and celebrates active resistance against the driving force of politics.
At times the album can become a little heavy handed, such as on 'The Bank Of England', but as a whole the concept holds strong. The 'Anaesthetist' for example tackles the dismantling the NHS by the Tories in exemplary fashion.
Sonically it is chaotic as it is strong thematically, firing on all cylinders like the synapses envisioned by the artwork. 'Torn Apart' features a string section, while 'There's A Price On Your Head' offsets math rock with a dubstep breakdown. To some this may be jarring, but for fans of Shikari this anarchy is familiar and welcome.
This perhaps isn't the album to win over new fans, but for those willing to jump in there are hidden depths to be found and an energetic, allegorical ride to be had.
Watch Enter Shikari discuss The Mindsweep with Gigwise below