SINGLE REVIEW: Enter Shikari – “The Last Garrison”

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Artist: Enter Shikari
Song: “The Last Garrison
Album: The Mindsweep

By the time Enter Shikari release The Mindsweep in early 2015 nearly three years will have passed since A Flash Flood of Colour arrived in stores. Enter Shikari have released material in the time between these releases, but any fan of the band knows there is a world of difference between the group’s singles and how they approach full-length recordings. The records Enter Shikari create are as much about delivering a cohesive listening experience with a clear message as they are keeping listeners on their toes from track to track, and it’s the fact the band has mastered toeing that creative line that they have become mainstays in the often turbulent alternative music scene.

Earlier this week, Enter Shikari offered fans a taste of The Mindsweep by releasing a new song titled “The Last Garrison” alongside the reveal that pre-orders for the new record were available. The song marks yet another step forward in the band’s seemingly endless evolution, and it’s something the internet has been buzzing about for well over a day at this point. If you somehow missed the initial premiere, join us in enjoying the song now:

We have been having a lot of fun with single reviews as of late, so while blasting “The Last Garrison” through our offices yesterday we decided that it might be fun to let everyone express their opinion on this track as well. Instead of having one person on staff write 500-1000 words about Enter Shikari’s latest we decided we could all share an opinion and hopefully spark a bit of conversation with readers along the way:

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“You never know what to expect when Enter Shikari decide to share new material, and “The Last Garrison” is only further evidence of this being true. After spending some time away, the band known for one of the craziest live shows in music have delivered a song with a relatively relaxed feel (at least compared to their previous work). The last half is far more interesting than the first, in my opinion, but Rou sounds great throughout. I’ve always been far more into the heavy side of this band than the soft, but I think this song will win me over more and more as time goes on.” – James Shotwell, Founder / Co-Owner / Editor


“Since day one, Enter Shikari has always made sense to me. They felt uniquely their own, and I always personally related to the way that they always do their own thing, regardless of what the rest of the scene is doing, all without giving a shit. Each record by the band is very much its own entity, and Shikari seems to be following suit with the latest entry into their catalog, “The Last Garrison.” The song leans heavily on the more electronic elements of their sound, evidently influenced by their favorite brands of UK dub and drum and bass. The song doesn’t hook me in the ways a lot of their tracks do, but the song is definitely catchy, and has me very interested in what the entirety of the record is going to sound like. Enter Shikari continue to push themselves with this track, and I believe that this new chapter of Shikari may be one of their most interesting yet.” – Tyler Osborne, News & Feature Writer


“Rou Reynolds and the boys in Enter Shikari just caught me completely off guard. Although the extent of my experience with the band is limited mostly to seeing them perform live rather than listening to them through my stereo, this track has me extraordinarily curious for what the rest of their upcoming album could hold. Don’t get me wrong, I love listening to their music, but I prefer to see the band dangling upside down from stage trusses and ceiling beams.

The opening blast of this track has an aggressive dubstep and hardcore infused tone, which then leads into a much more melodic bridge. Call me crazy, but if you isolated those vocals and laid them over different tracks, I’d let a portion pass as a classic rock song. By the end of the four-minute journey, the funky dance rebuild brings the track back to (wherever?) it may have started. I think the song was awesome, but another 12 of them might get stale quickly. Perhaps they treaded lightly on the remainder of the record, but that remains to be seen. It certainly doesn’t seem apparent by listening to “The Last Garrison.” – Derek Scancarelli, Head of UTG TV


“I guess I understand the appeal, but Enter Shikari is a band I’ve never been able to get into. There are aspects of their music that work for me but I’m yet to find a song by the band that I enjoy from beginning to end. I’m all for an eclectic, experimental mix of styles and sounds, and I typically love metal that infuses a smart use of keyboard, but moreso in the vein of BTBAM or Arsonists Get All The Girls, or even The Devil Wears Prada. The whole dubstep/metal hybrid thing just doesn’t sit well with me, and even though that’s not as present in ES’ newest single, I still think they’re overdoing the massive amalgam of genres. It’s Linkin Park meets 3OH!3 meets The Helio Sequence meets Los Campesinos! All things I’ve enjoyed at different times, in different moods, but not all together simultaneously. “The Last Garrison” is catchy and has solid elements but beyond listening to it 4 times in order to form this opinion, I don’t see myself returning. Maybe I’ll finally find an Enter Shikari song I enjoy from start to finish on The Mindsweep; we shall see.” Brian Lion, Founder / Co-Owner / Editor


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“Calling “The Last Garrison” unlistenable would be unfair, because I do enjoy certain pieces and ideas that Enter Shikari have put into their latest song, but as a whole I can’t really get into it. In short, the song is a jarring mix of clashing genres that doesn’t really feel like a complete thought. Certain pieces of the song tell my brain I’m listening to post-hardcore, while the droning backup vocals and bright synths make me think I’m listening to ’80s pop. Laced over it all is a dance groove and the looming feeling that someone is about to rap. Admittedly, I’ve never been a fan of Enter Shikari, but “The Last Garrison” sounds like a complex meal of contrasting dishes that have been dumped in a bucket, stirred, and served. No thanks.” – Scott Murray, News & Feature Writer


“Like the nu-metal (doesn’t that name just hurt to type now?) and emo/screamo bands before them, many of the metalcore/deathcore acts that rose to prominence amidst the genre’s boom in the last seven years or so have begun to fall out of favour, with critics (like us?) and with their fan bases. In order for bands to remain relevant they need to develop their sound in a manner that keeps them sounding fresh. The challenge for most bands is accomplishing this without alienating those fans that want the same record with different lyrics. Bands that accomplish this balance, thrive, those that go ‘too far’ flame-out, those that don’t do anything stagnate (for some stagnating is the safe move). In metalcore it seems British acts (Bring Me The Horizon, Architects) have had the most success at varying their style while appeasing their fans’ desires. St. Albans quartet Enter Shikari are another UK band determined to follow that path and their output since 2007’s Take To The Skies has reflected that desire. The critically acclaimed Common Dreads and Flash Flood of Colour were at times a massive departure from their core sound and fan response wildly varied as a result, leaving the band in an awkward position.

“The Last Garrison” seems to be a reaction to that awkwardness, with the band taking elements from each of their albums and throwing them into one song in what appears to be an attempt to appease everyone. Unfortunately, the result will likely appease no one, as “The Last Garrison” is an absolute mess of ill-fitting ideas. So while I applaud the commitment to progression and innovation this band continues to show, I cannot help but feel that they’ve lost track of whatever it is or was that makes Enter Shikari, Enter Shikari. “Sorry, you’re not a winner”, lads.” – Brenton Harris, News & Feature Writer


“Enter Shikari never cease to amaze me with their ability to do things most would never attempt in music and somehow make it work. The vibe of A Flash Flood of Colour has been utilized with “The Last Garrison” in that the experimental electronica side of the band has again taken over the hardcore roots. When I first heard Take Me To The Skies, I was blown away by Rou Reynolds’ vocals and how that was the focus of the tracks with his growled screams and orchestrated cleans. The focus seems to have shifted recently, and here the vocals feel rather bland. That said, the strange sounds that the band are known to produce are still present and Rory Clewlow’s guitars which are powerful when the time is right. I will admit that I was a little disappointed with this track at first, though, because I was waiting for something a bit more powerful considering the fact this single doubles as a first sneak preview for their new record. Still, I’m sure The Mindsweep will have my full attention when it hits stores in January.” – Ryan Kappy, News & Feature Writer


“I have to say, I haven’t really liked anything since Take To The Skies. Common Dreads was nice, but I didn’t even enjoy it nearly as much as their debut.

The band has always had electronic elements in their music, which is what initially drew me to them. I dig bands like I See Stars, but I felt that they swerved too far into the dubstep realm with A Flash Flood Of Colour. Lucky for me, it seems they may have taken a step back from that with their new single, “The Last Garrison.” It still has the influential electronics that we’re used to, but they are not overpowering. While I’m happy to see they may be heading back to their roots, I am not a huge fan of the new song. I feel a little underwhelmed. The lyrics are fine enough, but the delivery could use some work. Maybe it has something to do with the mixing, but it just doesn’t jive with me. With that said though, I am much more curious to hear what the rest of the album sounds like than I was before.” – Kriston McConnell, News & Feature Writer


“If there’s one band who can be relied on to release consistently intriguing music in current times, Enter Shikari fit the bill. Thus, it isn’t exactly surprising that “The Last Garrison,” the band’s latest foray into electronic-infused post-hardcore, is instantly satisfying. Containing everything from melodic bridges featuring glimmering synth-work to breakdowns and a blistering D&B outro, all of the band’s savvy is on full display. With that being said, much of Shikari’s music is best enjoyed when listening to their albums in full, so one can only imagine how the new cut will fit in with the rest of The Mindsweep come 2015.” – Michael Giegerich, News & Feature Writer


“It almost seems as if Enter Shikari have come to a point in their careers where instead of introducing new elements to their sound, they’re changing up their execution. Even nearly 3 years later, I’ll still openly claim that the most memorable tracks from A Flash Flood of Colour are the ones that boast more of a rock or electronica influence over post-hardcore or metal.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for pushing the envelope.

Yet I can’t really buy into “The Last Garrison.” Perhaps it’s the lazy tone of the chorus, perhaps it’s the lack of something new, perhaps it’s even the fact that I was expecting a much more constant-paced and aggressive feel to the song. Lead singles are a huge opportunity for a band to hit the ground running in terms of album promotion, and I certainly want to hope that the band made the misstep of using the wrong song off the album rather than their best.” – Adrian Garza, News & Feature Writer


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Do you agree with us? Comment below and leave us your thoughts on Enter Shikari’s latest!

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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