Sikth – “Opacities” MCD (Peaceville Records)
Now this is what I call a comeback! A mainstay of the UK’s millennium metal scene, Sikth had it all from being an MTV A list band to playing prestigious festivals like Download and Fuji Rock in Japan, along with having their 2006 sophomore “Death Of A Dead Day” charting. Call it Pin and Dan’s mathcore licks and bending djent riffs. Call it the dual vocals of Mikee Goodman and Justin Hill, intensely trading off one another screaming n rapping n singing. Call it Sikth, whose sound had recognizable elements of Korn and System of a Down in its grooves and vocals respectively, but moreover, their crazy, pumping and highly catchy songs. Whatever the case, just on the eve of breaking massively, both Goodman and Hill departed, leaving the band to fold shortly thereafter. Ironically, it was only after their split that Sikth were recognized as one of the major inspirations behind the by now newly growing djent movement! However, in 2014, the band reunited as the surprise act for Download, and things have rolled on since, playing international festivals including the Silence Festival V in Nepal and culminating in this mini album! With the return of Goodman and Hill completing the original line up, opener ‘Behind The Doors’ shows nothing has changed in the insane beat with tasty mathcore melodies over the top and screaming vocals laced with tender harmonies bringing back all the memories! There’s an almost techno, dance type groove to the material that keeps it flowing and most of all, makes it ever so irresistible with those heavy djent riffs on ‘Philistine Philosophies‘, especially with those Serj Tankian wailings – although once it revs up, it reaches Pantera levels of intensity!! With the Korn influences coming in on ‘Under The Weeping Moon’ and James Leach‘s crunching bass taking prominence in the mix to add some bottom heavy balls to the song, along come some tender, uplifting harmonies to add the perfect contrast as Goodman and Hill continue to battle it out vocally, culminating in the enigmatic spoken word rap of ‘Tokyo Lights’. ‘Walking Shadows’ however, takes a step back despite the harsh ragga vocals, being more measured and having a mellowing ambient groove over which come some cool mathcore melodies. Taking us to a close comes the longest song on the album, ‘Days Are Dreamed, which is certainly different in being ambient and beautiful with its tender, layered vocals and delicate keys, and offers some emotional consolation to the frenicity of the rest of this mini album. It’s great to hear that Sikth have got it together and are back once again, now with a more complete sound and this solid, what I hope to be comeback release.