Shikari – 1999-2003


Shikari is a great beast lumbering forth from our neighbors across the Atlantic Ocean, the Netherlands. Skull-smashing blast beats combine with high-pitched vocals and thoughtful lyrics to represent some of the best of what chaotic hardcore has to offer. I’ve got to give props to any band that starts off a record with a soundclip of someone playing butt rock and yelling “suck Satan’s cock” in the most devious voice ever. This Shikari collections brings together the Robot Wars 10″, the split 10″ with Seein’ Red, the Deadmen EP, and three other wonderful bonus tracks, including a cover of Unbroken’s “Fall on Proverb” that completely obliterates the original (blasphemy to some I’m sure, but I’ve never liked Unbroken songs unless they are played by another band).

Level Plane brings us this nice little package all under one roof with excellent artwork to boot. The cover shows a flower growing out of a skull and is an excellent representation of the dichotomy of Shikari’s music: introspective lyrics with intense presentation. The band was nice enough to give explanations inside the CD booklet about what the subject matter of each song concerns. The members seemed to be concerned with the state of Dutch welfare, writer’s block, depression, and love amongst other things. Given the seriousness of some of the subject matter, it is always nice to know that bands such as Shikari still believe in fun as well, hence the soundclip that I mentioned previously and songs like “Robot Wars,” which is a fun spoof of the game show where people build robots and watch them fight to win money.

I’m not sure if Shikari is now defunct and this is meant to be a collection of all of the band’s work, or if this is just a summary of one period in its career. Nevertheless, I would highly recommend that anyone who enjoys bands such as Orchid or Uranus pick this up immediately. The thick walls of distorted guitar, double bass blast-beat drumming, and banshee vocals will be right up your alley. Shikari manages to remain utterly heavy without ever veering into metal territory, which is something that I can’t say about too many hardcore bands these days. If in fact Shikari is dead and gone, the band will be sorely missed.