It isn’t easy, for any band, to make a comeback these days. Sure, there are reunions aplenty, more album shows than anything else and breakups so short that even the most enthusiastic fan is left feeling skeptical, but that doesn’t make any of it easy.
Nostalgia can often work in a band’s favour, but once the sing-alongs come and go, you need to be left with the bare bones of a successful band – the energy, the talent, and the dynamics that only a truly great set of musicians can keep together after years (and years) of being in the industry. Thank God for SikTh, then.
The Watford six piece – still rocking their original line up FYI – changed everything from their inception way back when in 2000. To this day, you’d struggle to pin them to a genre. Progressive metal is an umbrella term at best; rightful heirs to the djent movement, there’s mathcore, tech and avant garde metal, “scatcore”, and just about every other sub genre you can think of. Despite their split in 2008, the UK band have been of huge importance to an array of acts, even if they were too young for the first round of Sikth.
And with the band announcing their triumphant return in 2014 – kickstarting proceedings with a performance at Download that year, seven years after they called it a day – this year sees the band return to business as usual as they embark on a UK tour at the beginning of December, and crowdfunded mini album Opacities out imminently. Welcome back, guys.
But what it is about SikTh and their return that had us thinking Christmas had come early? Surely they’re another metal band, back for round two, enjoying a second lease of life and a new legion of fans? Not quite.
To say Sikth redefined the metal scene is an understatement. Sure, Meshuggah are our founding fathers of djent, and we may have the likes of Periphery and Hacktivist carrying the torch, but what about all those years in between? You got it, SikTh. Speaking to Metal Hammer in 2014 of their comeback, the band said “the whole premise of SikTh when we started it was that we wanted something that was a little bit ahead of the pack and would stand up in the future.”, and that it has. Jack of all trades and frankly masters of them all, the undeniable and unbelievable talent and skill of each and every band member has stood the test of time – especially if latest single Philistine Philosophies is anything to go by – but when you throw in all the influences, all the subgenres and all the technical ability, you’re left with one of the most varied melting pots the music industry has ever seen.
Take a look, and have a listen naturally, at SikTh’s discography and you’ll see why they’re still considered pioneers of the UK metal scene. Genre defying is one way to look at it, and debut The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait For Something Wild is still a game changer. From the heart-breaking, earth shattering (If You Weren’t So) Perfect to the iconic Pussyfoot (and bonus Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds cover of Tupelo as your casual album track), it was clear that 2003 signified a huge change in metal as we knew it, and we’ve never looked back. And then again in 2006 with Death of a Dead Day; did you know the band mixed their own albums? Talented bunch, hey.
And considering it’s been almost a decade since we’ve had anything new, anticipation for Opacities is silly high. Old fans, new fans, and the fans you know that are just around the corner… it’s an exciting time not just for SikTh, but for metal once again. What can we expect from both the tour and their first release in almost a decade? Unparalleled noise, no doubt, and a mind blowing mix of talent and influences you didn’t even know existed, all somehow condensed down to five face-melting tracks that will shake you to your core. And after a lengthy hiatus, which almost felt necessary given the sheer intensity and energy that was such an integral part of that band during their reign, we cannot wait to see how they will inevitably, once again, redefine the music scene.
Words: Becky Mount
Catch SikTh on tour next month, with dates in Glasgow, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and London between 5 – 12 December, book now at Ticketmaster.co.uk.