Let’s skip straight to the end, shall we? Bypass the so-often-pointless comparisons to acts already operating in the sphere of mainstream rock and roll, to those whose work you’ll own already and thus remark, albeit silently, “Oh, well I do like them, so I must like these” (even though you know it never goes down like that), and plough on to the money shot, the precipice upon which this cliff-hanger was hung. Ready?
*Let Our Enemies Beware *are roughly eighteen leagues ahead of ninety percent of British rock bands out there, right now, this instant. Dhu Rakina doesn’t just prove this in a matter-of-fact manner; it crushes bone and pulps brain, stomps doubt and embraces insanity. It is neither metal nor punk, not post-rock or its hardcore cousin. It is rock music played by rock fans bearing wicked smiles and it makes me feel fucking brilliant.
And now, the back story: Let Our Enemies Beware hail from the same Kentish soil as previous DiS-does-RoTa players Up-C Down-C, but whereas their friends ply a trade mastered by many – that of post-rock dynamics turned up and blown out – this group of musicians are in a pigeonhole entirely of their own. Sure, you’ll think there are hallmarks of many an already-encountered style, but Let Our Enemies Beware’s way with sound manipulation – their ability to contort regular compositions into hideous mutations, to crank their output to ‘epic’ and then crash it to Earth like a meteorite, shattering what was beautiful into a hundred flaming shards of deadly intent – is truly wonderful. ‘(Personal) Space Invaders’, for instance, begins with a skin-prickling rumble a la Mogwai and their ilk, but soon engages its superchargers and propels itself into bizarre-rock territory, all Patton scatting and twinkle-twinkle guitars. It hovers for a while before its 'chute is cut and the whole piece erupts into the listener’s ear canal. It sears like a bastard, but the sensation is so irrationally incandescent that one can’t help but rewind and do it all again.
‘I’m Not Laughing, I’m Choking’ is a similarly schizophrenic affair, all Mono-meets-Mastodon riffs building into a buzzing Botch-like finale. ‘Fools Philistines Heretics And Whores' treads equally uneven boards, a John Lydon snarl pulling the teeth out of a Faith No More covers band while a small child cries itself dry in the sin bin corner of the room. It pulses and grows and pops – “fuck you” the frank payoff line – before tripping over itself ‘til its nose is broken and its toes are all stubbed out. Over the course of seven tracks (at 37 minutes this is basically an album, not an EP) Let Our Enemies Beware run riot through record store racks, stealing what they can’t breed themselves and pouring fertiliser on their already wild imaginations. What’s more, they do it in a manner that implies that they’ve having fun, the time of their fucking lives, committing it all to tape. Dhu Rakina is malevolence and menace, intrigue and invention, bliss and bombast. It’s just about everything you want in a new band.
Of course, none of the above references really stick. That's the beauty of this release: it's both immediate in emotive effect, making the brain fizz like a suger rush, and alien in its construction. It is original in a fashion that the alleged mavericks in the music press, those that look simply to prog or folk to augment their otherwise MOR stylings, can only dream about.
Refresh your memory and backtrack: Let Our Enemies Beware are roughly eighteen leagues ahead of ninety percent of British rock bands out there, right now, this instant. That’s actually selling this EP a little short; I’m under great restraint not to proclaim that this band is the best domestic rock act I’ve heard all year. That they’re unsigned is the biggest industry crime since that whole Jonathan King debacle. Someone with a little cash and the inclination, do us a favour and put this in those aforementioned racks.
The band can be contacted through their website, here. These ears at least suggest you click your way there, now.
9Mike Diver's Score