Whoever said metal and ‘80s electro pop would never work obviously has never listened to Enter Shakari’s debut masterpiece.
Take to the Skies got me just the right degree of ‘pumped’ – not so pumped that I ripped off my earphones in a metal-induced trance ready to slay warlocks whilst my ears bled, but enough that I couldn’t stop listening.
Even though metal is definitely not my favourite genre, this is not your typical head-banging, double kick heavy, wailing ninja guitar type of album.
Although it does contain small elements of the latter, they were mixed with punk/ hardcore/ trashy trance/ ‘80s synth-pop/ and emo. For example, ‘Mothership’ starts off like a trance anthem, with frantic synth, leading to heavy metallic riffs and screaming. The mix of erratic keys teamed with harsher elements of metal gave the album a quirky, slightly comical touch. ‘Sorry, you’re not a winner’ adds hand claps and growling to the mix. ‘Okay, time for plan B’ is like ‘80s space metal, if such a genre existed. It begins with futuristic space sound effects, then becomes a metal track. ‘Labyrinth’ is another great melodic and metal track, ending with a 20 second ‘80s disco electropop segment, eventually slowing to lead into hardcore/disco punk track, ‘No SSweat’.
The album also contains several untitled, shorter ‘interlude’ tracks. These include a 35 second trumpet fanfare, and some short trance-y/drum and bass samples with major song ‘themes’ chanted or sung (I listened to this on my computer with visualisations on, it was like Phat ‘07 all over again – minus the dreads and the hacky). These tracks offer a nice break from the other songs, and emphasise the incredible musicianship of this group.
My top track was ‘Jonny Sniper’. Pretty piano, metal, touches of emo, and alt/ indie-ness all in one brilliant “melting pot” song.
I was already impressed when I read that these guys turned down major record deals to stay independent, signing to their own record label, Ambush Reality. But then, when I saw the eerie ‘salad-finger’-esque album art, I was sold. Hybridity at its best. Even better than a liger. (P.S. Ligers do exist – http://www.messybeast.com/genetics/hyb-liger.htm )