Sikth | ‘The Future In Whose Eyes?’
I’ve been thinking about the future a lot recently.
Not sure why; but thinking of the pervasive panopticon we’ve all plugged ourselves into has led me to rediscover stuff like ‘Neuromancer’ and ‘Brave New World’ with renewed relevance.
It’s happened with aesthetics as well. Again, I can’t quite explain it, but I now lap up various Retrographix almost every day.
They bring me back to the 8-bit video games of my youth, while at the same time making sense of what’s happening right now.
When Sikth’s ‘Opacities’ came out a few years ago, I caught quite the bug for a band whom I’d never really paid much attention to before. It was the artwork, firstly, which speaks to everything above. Very quickly though I realized it was the music too, and the EP was lodged on play for weeks of rotation.
Unbelievably, ‘A Future In Whose Eyes?’ wallops even that fantastic little gem. It’s now a full album of steamy backstreets and Blade Runner neon, enlivened by some absolutely incredible and memorable tech metal.
If you’re new to them, or think they’re just some sort of UK version of System Of A Down crossed with Mushroomhead, allow me to explain further.
What we have here is an album of stories and characters that are all a product of the multilayered voices on here, both multi-vocal and musical.
There are enough personalities and situations in here to fill an issue of 2000AD, and the music goes such a very long way to painting those exact strips.
Think of each song as a different artist (the Ennises, Mills and Izquerras of my day) applying their idiosyncratic brush strokes to Dredds, Strontium Dogs, Rogue Troopers, Indigo Primes… it is all in this album, even if I’m just superimposing them there.
Listen to how ‘Aura’ opens. A narrator in gruff cockney, who appears a few times on here, leads us into an underground of cannibalised electronics, motors, lights and foodscraps. The chorus is absolutely irresistable, while the mood is heady.
I am reminded of several great bands who’ve tried to capture the sounds of their cities with intricate urban extreme metal – notably the Akercocke-aligned Voices, whose ‘London’ album seems to have been an influence here for sure – but also classic early Strapping Young Lad and the much missed She Said Destroy.
Great company to be sure. Weave in a little Dillinger, Textures and Tesseract, and you’ve basically got Sikth’s sound sorted with the above mix.
I just love it. It’s so musically and graphically rich.
Recently when we talked to Medulla Nocte and Barrabus frontman Paul Catten in MI Podcast 36, he said of Sikth’s vocalist ‘Don’t even try to be like Mikee Goodman, because there’s no-one like him’ – and how right he is.
Between himself and fellow vocalist Joe Rosser the multiple personas they describe are riveting from the start. That’s not to forget the rhythm and guitar sections as well, which are surely at a genre high. This is djent with absolute power and songwriting nous.
Highs include ‘Aura’, the blastbeat heavy ‘Cracks Of Light’, the dizzying ‘Riddles Of Humanity’ and the beautiful ‘Ride The Illusion’, but the truth is that it is all great. There is not a dud and not a boring moment on here: not on your life. This band are just too immersed in the Sim.
An undoubted album of the month for July: not just because of where it brings you back to, but where it brings you forward to. That’s the brilliant dissonance of it. Enjoy it.
5/5 – GRAPHIX
4/5 – SPRITES
5/5 – SOUNDTRACK
4/5 – GAMEPLAY
you might say.
4.8 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 17/07/17