Album Review: SIKTH The Future in Whose Eyes?
When the UK's SikTh released Death of a Dead Day back in 2006, even they couldn't have predicted the massive impact it would have on modern metal. If Meshuggah are the godfathers of the djent movement, then SikTh are the neglected stepson; having developed a cult-like following over the years, their influence on the genre isn't as notable as the Swedes', but even so, it's easy to hear how many of the djent bands of today took a nod or two from Sikth's inimitable style. After an 11 year gap and a period of uncertainty regarding the state of the band, the elusive SikTh has returned with their third full-length record, The Future in Whose Eyes?, a record that is true to the sound of its predecessors, but also sees the band coming full circle in more ways than one.
Much of SikTh's sound and their subsequent influence modern metal is owed to guitarist Graham "Pin" Pinney's complex and intricate style of playing, which is as rich and potent this time around as it's ever been. "Vivid" opens the record with bouncy grooves, whirlwind riffs and an energy that's sure to rile up even the most stone-faced of listeners. Though Pin has been active in Aliases, it's clear that these riffs and songs were written especially with SikTh in mind. The good cop/bad cop dual vocals of Mikee Goodman and Joe Rosser are the other staple of this band, and both give performances as eccentric and theatrical as ever. Goodman in particular sticks out more, his unusual spoken word segments appearing more often than on previous records, and thus making the work as a whole a bit more mysterious.
What's most interesting about The Future in Whose Eyes? is the way in which it borrows elements from many of the contemporaries whom SikTh clearly made an impression on. The most obvious example of this is Periphery's involvement; not only did Adam "Nolly" Getgood mix and master the record (who knocked it out of the park, I might add), but Spencer Sotelo lends his pipes to the anthemic "Cracks of Light," which is arguably one of the stronger cuts of the whole batch. This is quite profound, as the members of Periphery themselves have mentioned on many occasions the importance of SikTh on their own development as a band. Furthermore, the "thump" style of guitar playing popularized by Animals As Leaders can be heard at points on the record. All of this just goes to show that the teacher should never be too proud to be a student at times, as well.
The Future in Whose Eyes? is certainly a step forward for SikTh. Though no longer the pioneers they once were, this record stands on its own legs against the slew of modern metal records that listeners are inundated with on a daily basis, and manages to surpass many of them. Suffice it to say, fans of Periphery, Toothgrinder and Protest the Hero will certainly find something to love here if they aren't already keen to SikTh's eccentric styling, and if they are, then they've likely been awaiting this moment eagerly for the past 11 years. Either way, it's great to have SikTh back. Here's hoping it doesn't take 11 more years for them to release their next masterclass in how this style of metal should be done.
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