Home Read Classic Album Review: Asian Dub Foundation | Enemy of the Enemy

Classic Album Review: Asian Dub Foundation | Enemy of the Enemy

The U.K. global groovers’ fourth album is essential, awsome & irresistible to boot.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


“You’ve got to rise to the challenge,” Asian Dub Foundation urge on Enemy Of The Enemy — and they know of whence they speak.

Those familiar with this London collective’s remarkable 2000 CD Community Music might doubt they could match its transfixing, transporting fusion of hip-shaking style and head-nodding substance. Well, after two years in a studio with legendary dub producer Adrian Sherwood, ADF haven’t just matched their last effort — they’ve surpassed it.

Essential, awsome and damned irresistible to boot, Enemy Of The Enemy is the album of their career, not to mention the first truly great album of 2003. Its dozen tracks are a mind-expanding cross between a frantic fever-dream, a hallucinatory head-trip, a Bollywood sci-fi soundtrack, a culture-jamming construct and a political manifesto.

Musical styles come fast and furious. Skanky reggae and woozy dub, politicized punk and swaggering metal, walloping hip-hop and smooth soul, earthy bhangra and keening qawwali, rousing ska and raucous dancehall, chilly ambient and ominous electronica; you’ll find them all here and more. And aided by the deft touch of knob-twiddler extraordinaire Sherwood, they get mixed, matched, morphed and mutated in seemingly endless combinations, intertwining as gracefully, seamlessly and sinfully as snakes in a pit. Then ADF’s multiple vocalists add even more fuel to their furious fire with incendiary commentary and inflammatory rhyme about burning issues like 9/11, racism, the siege of Fortress Europe and the need for globalization against mobilization.

“This is a 21st-century exodus” is their rallying cry, channelling both the Bible and Bob Marley. Their goal? A global village where 007 does dub, The Clash co-exist with electroclash, Public Enemy is the national anthem and everyone is the enemy of your enemy. Save a spot for me.