Review Summary: Don't even bother.
It's funny that a key line of the twin title tracks, "The Appeal & The Mindsweep," is the desperate scream of "I am the mindsweeper, focus on me!" Generally speaking, someone begging you to focus on them is not doing anything that's inherently worth paying attention to. And that's exactly what The Mindsweep
is: a mess of gimmicks all begging for your attention, but failing to deserve it.
It's not just the electronics tacked on a post-hardcore background. There's a way to do that well, and once or twice, Enter Shikari stumble on it. It's the miserable execution and juvenile lyrics. Songs alternate between boring and cringeworthy, depending on which of those elements take the forefront. Expect a string of boring breakdowns strung together with typical clean/scream tradeoffs, and a hilariously misguided attempt to spread the Gospel of Science and Reason ("The velocities at which we now evolve mean we got to dissolve unchecked tradition") or something. Enter Shikari neither advance post-hardcore nor pay homage to its roots.
But they strike gold with "The One True Color," which clocks in at track 2 and sets the bar of expectations unreasonably high. It's a tightly focused blast of melodic intensity, deftly bouncing from driving verse to hushed chorus to climactic finale. The lyrics are cheesy, yes, but it's hard not to sing along with "Oh, how rich the soil! How wondrous the upheaval!" It's infuriating how strong of a song this is, because it's followed up by "Anaesthetist," which features brostep-laced rapping about healthcare or capitalism or something, which is as precisely as terrible as it sounds.
never recovers from this abomination. "The Last Garrison" marries a moderately energetic verse with a depressingly dull chorus. "Never Let Go of the Microscope" features more flow-free 'rapping,' but it's the repetitive chorus that sinks the song instead. Then come the attempts at diversity, as if someone told Enter Shikari that was the secret to success. Unfortunately, the blatant System of a Down
worship of "There's a Price on Your Head" is clunky and out of place, and "Dear Future Historians...", despite its awesomely melodramatic ending, can't recover from Roughton Reynolds singing, in the midst of a piano ballad, "For when I dive into your iris, my brain erupts into biochemical mayhem" with a straight face.
Enter Shikari is apparently a band meant to be experienced live, but that doesn't excuse the disaster of this recording. The band may deserve a smidge of credit for deviating ever so slightly from the factory-polished, sterile hybrids of electronica and metalcore that seemed to be everywhere a few years ago (are they all gone these days, or did I just tune them all out"). The problem is all of the deviations should have been shot down from the get-go. Please, ignore the mindsweeper.