#NewMusic: Enter Shikari – The Void Strikes Back


By Izzy Parker

After a dormancy period of 3 years (though, to be fair, they chose the right three years- it’s not like a pandemic is the optimum time for success!), Enter Shikari returned with a bang to the music scene this August, releasing a fresh new single, The Void Stares Back. This single was highly anticipated by their devout fans, as its release has been in question for some time; their previous LP, The Great Unknown, finished with a single containing the lyrics ‘Is this a new beginning? Or are we close to the end?’, leaving much uncertainty about their return, especially when paired with such a lengthy silence! 

It’s not like Enter Shikari don’t know what they’re doing, though. These are long-established musicians, forming originally in St Albans in 1999, and completing the current lineup in 2003 with the addition of the current name, and guitarist Rory Clewlow. Alongside Clewlow in the four piece now named after an indian word for ‘hunter’ are: Rou Reynolds as frontman, Chris Batten on bass and backing vox and Rob Rolfe on drums. No one could say they don’t know their onions. Since their formation, they’ve gone from strength to strength with their material. Their debut album Take To The Skies reached a N.o 4 position in the Official UK Album Chart and has since been BRIT certified gold, and they’ve gone on to release two more BRIT certified silver albums and four UK top 10 albums. 

Now they continue on their journey of tremendous success with a new single, The Void Stares Back. This time a collaboration with Wargasm, who are an up and coming London electronic rock pairing who’ve made their mark on the industry in recent years. It’s likely an unexpected collaboration for many, but one that works in sweet harmony. Speaking on the single, Wargasm said ‘Shikari were a big part of our growing up, so it was an absolute honour to be asked to collaborate with such an incredible and well-spoken band. They stand for the right things – we’re a little more pessimistic. It was fun playing the darker devil’s advocate to Rou’s light.’

And play the devil’s advocate they certainly do! The Void Stares Back has a undeniably threatening feel to it- it’s eerie, alienistic and brings a plethora of existential questions along with it. Thematically, it’s quite dark- before even delving any further into the lyrics, ‘stare into the void ‘till the void stares back’ is pretty sinister! This theme of another life form is explored in the lyrics, though-  ‘Oh, did I mention I’m from another dimension?’. The lyrics are totally matched in atmosphere by the instrumental, which is very electronic. It does feel like a new step for Enter Shikari, and a cool one too. 

This is an interesting collaboration, for it seems an almost perfectly even amalgamation of the styles of both artists, taking influence from the best elements of both. The electronic, eerie spoken word sections from Milkie Way and Sam Matlock interweave nicely with Rou’s iconic, explosive vocals. There’s certainly something here for fans of both to enjoy, and clearly means a lot to both parties involved in its creation. Reynolds said ‘It is with elation, and more than a little nervousness, that we release this; our first track after over two years of dormancy. It is a roisterous journey made all the more so with the addition of our friends Wargasm. Thematically, the piece is about the forward march of social progress, and how, often, those with a more conventional archaic outlook on sexuality, gender, social design, economics etc, see those with differing ideas like bewildering, depraved creatures from another dimension.’ 

In conjunction with their return to releasing music has been a busy summer for the Hertfordshire-based outfit. Following a headline set at Download festival last year, this summer they kept busy with a mainstage slot at Reading and Leeds fest. They’re currently in America, and will see out the year’s live performances in Europe, with Wargasm themselves. Give The Void Stares Back a listen, and catch them this autumn if you can!

Photo Credit: Paul Harries

Related Blog Posts