Listening to Enemo J is like being submerged in a swarm of African honeybees running amok, their sound a nagging and ferocious irritant that never desists in aggression and rage once provoked into creation by the band’s inspirations and imagination. As proven by new album Miley Virus, it also produces raw sonic nectar that ignites the appetite and through an unpredictable tempest, leaves the senses wrung out but with a real greed for more. The UK metaller’s fifth album is arguably their most adventurous and diverse yet, as again the band weaves an agitated expanse of styles and flavours into their storms, equally though it is possibly their most testing, but as that only results in being amongst their most fiercely enjoyable, it is a definite asset.
Hailing from Burton On Trent and emerging at the beginning of the new millennium, Enemo J has gone on to unleash a quartet of successful and increasingly acclaimed full-lengths and earned a potent stature for a live presence which has seen the band play with the likes of Napalm Death, (Hed) PE, Sylosis, Black Light Burns, and Korn, create a stir with performances at Download in 2010 and more recently 2014, and play with similar reactions fests such as Bloodstock. Now the core line-up of vocalist Craig Hartwell, guitarist Haydn Edwards, and bassist Mikey Wyke are ready to nudge and punch the broadest spotlights with Miley Virus, expectations after many listens to the beast leaning towards a highly positive outcome in that intent.
After the vocal led Intro, band and album explode into tempestuous life with This Is Not A Toy, immediately spinning web of steely grooves and predatory rhythms led by the distinctive and as always swiftly engaging roars of Hartwell. His attack though comes with great variety from his throat and within the band, an adventure matching the winding lures of guitar and more controlled but no less imposing prowl of bass. Aligning ferocious metalcore influences with a groove metal tantalising, and subsequently cleaner textures in sound and voice, the track is a gripping and dynamic incitement to set things off and highly addictive, especially the more it evolves its rapacious body.
The album’s title track steps forward next, Miley Virus from an electronic coaxing flexing rhythmic muscles and cantankerous grooves from the already impressing prowess of Edwards. Spilling rap metal tenacity and enterprise in vocals and thick initial temptation, the track creates a kaleidoscope of uncompromising intensity and melodic tempting which at different times hints at the like of Skindred, Stone Sour, and American Head Charge across a thoroughly magnetic persuasion. Unfortunately our promo did not come with any details of guests and full personnel on the album but amongst many things, female vocals add a great siren-esque lure to the track’s robust adventure.
Five Percent slips in next, Hartwell’s voice offering its hip hop prowess as the track begins its growth into a fiery protagonist stalking ears and inciting with lyrical and physical confrontation. As bestial as it is harmoniously alluring within a volatile and climactic ambience, the outstanding track is a gripping proposal matched by This Stops Today. Carnivorous riffs court a sonic imagination straight away, vocals leaning towards a rancorous toning as they provoke and excite with the track perpetually twisting and embracing a wealth of attacks and formidable flavouring. As its predecessor, it too marks another lofty peak within the album with its Slipknot meets Stuck Mojo like voracity, a pinnacle almost emulated by the death/metalcore lined savaging of Ides Of March. The song is a predator of ears and emotions, virtually everything about it an insidious prowl led by the great malevolence fuelling Wyke’s bass but then tempered by the acidic strands spewed by Edward’s guitar and again impressive vocals.
The boldest adventure within Miley Virus starts emerging from Majora, the song a roar of rap lined metalcore which suddenly turns, with more impressive female vocals at its centre, into a melodically honed gothic proposal. This is Enemo J, so things never stay in one direction for long though; a swarming tenacity of riffs blossomed from the savaging fury and in turn swinging back into the gothic coated seducing. To be honest the track caught our ears by surprise and took a while to totally convince but overtime it wins out, as too Throughout which takes a similarly longer route in succeeding with its convincing. A thick tapestry of flavours extreme and melodic which at times flirts with post hardcore tendencies too, the song casts more great female vocals alongside the caustic squalls of Hartwell as melodies from keys and guitar provide an evocative drama. Admittedly, it fails to spark the same richest of reactions as earlier tracks but in fascination and invention, the song is absorbing and easy to repeatedly explore.
Both the volcanically intensive Sufferance and the drama fuelled radiance of Time sear the senses and light the imagination respectively, the first with its blackened wind over a swirling sonic canvas of endeavour. Its successor spins a low-key but potent acidic hook repetition within a sonically and emotionally turbulent post hardcore landscape, vocals as expected as strong as the music in revealing the depth of diversity and invention within their grasp.
Miley Virus is concluded by Drunk Lions At The Wolf Party, a ravenous ferocity of sound and presence veined by melodic and harmonic ingenuity. The song truly comes alive once all the extreme contrasts within it collude to create an engrossing flight of ire and emotive elegance, in turn providing a fine and big close to a riveting and thoroughly enjoyable encounter. Enemo J just goes from strength to strength with each release, and though for personal tastes it is a little bit a proposition of two halves, each song thrills and enthrals in their own inventive way to make Miley Virus an easy recommendation to make.
Miley Virus is out from November 1st through Digital Media Records across most online stores.
Pete RingMaster 31/10/2105
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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