Watford Djent/Mathcore sextet are back with a new full length album ‘The Future In Whose Eyes?’. As a huge fan myself I was really hoping this album was going to be a continuation of where the band left off from the ‘Opacities’ EP. From the moment I hit play on the first track I broke into a grin, it was like being introduced the band all over again. ‘The Future In Whose Eyes?’ Is everything I wanted it to be and more.
SikTh, a band hailed as the inventors of the Djent revolution, inspiration to bands such as Periphery and Tesseract, have a big name to live up to. Once with an almost cult underground following prior to their 5 year hiatus, their return in 2014 created a hype that caused their fan base to increase exponentially. Following numerous festival appearances the band announced they were writing new music, causing all fans to become very excited. The ‘Opacities’ EP was fantastic look into a new rejuvenated SikTh, the EP had great success, but ultimately left fans crying out for more. Their prayers were answered when touring the EP the band announced a full length album was on its way.
When Justin Hill announced his retirement from the band in 2016 I, like most fans, was concerned that they would be unable to find a worthy replacement, someone to complement Mikee Goodman’s instantly recognizable style and many different sounds. However, new vocalist Joe Rosser has slotted in perfectly and holds his own amongst the craziness that can be Mikee’s vocals.
I was also really itching to see what fantastic musicianship the boys have been working on. For many the intrigue of SikTh is the mastery the of the instruments they play. Dan Weller and Graham (PIN) Pinney are two the best guitarists in the game, complemented with skills of James Leach on Bass and Dan Foord on the drums, the guys really must have a great knack of working together. Music this off time and crazy is not easy to write, record or play live. However they have done it once again, you really could listen to this without vocals and the record would still be fantastic.
Having jumped at the chance to do this review I have gone into it with an open mind, and I was almost set to be disappointed. I’m glad to say that this was not case, not even close!
I pressed play on the opening track ‘Vivid’ and was greeted with a very familiar sound to my ears, that off tune chord, pops and slaps of bass guitar and quick drum rolls. Then suddenly one of the best riffs on the album hit me, pure Sikth – heavy, fast and brutal, I could do nothing but rock in my chair. A change in tune soon follow and the vocals come straight to the fore front of the track, really showcasing some fantastic work by Mikee and Joe, the music still heavy but allowing them to cut through seamlessly. Instantly this reminds me of SikTh of old. The track is a fantastic opener and tells me exactly where this album is going and that I will not be disappointed. This track also shows how well the album has been recorded and mixed. Every note and nuance cuts through with ease, every frequency in its place, nothing over powers or tries to take over. A very hard thing to do, especially with music so complex. The track would not feel out of place on any previous album making old fans feel comfortably at home with the new line up.
The second and third tracks follow on with this theme. I’m starting to see how the album is coming together now and already falling in love with it. A sticking point in my mind is how catchy the chorus’ are, perfect for a live sing-along, something new for the band. At any gig the fans will always sing along but this feels like something fans can really sing back at the band. Having toured with Periphery and Slipknot in recent years, the powerful affect of a singalong seems to have infiltrated Mikee’s writing seamlessly.
‘This Ship Has Sailed’ is the next track, this is the first of three spoken word/poem tracks on the album, (‘The Moons Been Gone For Hours’ and ‘When It Rains’) all performed by Mikee Goodman. Anyone who has listened to a SikTh album before will be used to hearing these with one on every release to date. With a backing of ambient noise these tracks gave a slightly different feel to previous showings. Although I do like these I cant help but feel a little hard done by with three on the album, it feels like they are filler tracks, like there were not enough songs for the album. However they are incredibly well written with a dystopian feeling to them, a future that is not quite right, and it really shows his talent.
BOOM! Straight back into heavy, fast SikTh. Two more instantly recognisable tracks that would again not be out of place on their previous offerings. A collaboration with Spencer Sotelo from Periphery brings a nice change. His vocals offer something of the norm to the track ‘Cracks of Light’, which really showcases how different SikTh are to their peers vocally.
The second half of the album brings some incredibly catchy belters, I cannot wait to see these live.
The first of these is ‘Golden Cufflinks’. A change of direction, slower and musically simpler, it is much easier to follow for the listener. This is that track you can really get a groove on to, your foot is tapping and your head is banging as soon as it hits. It starts to build in the middle 8 then back into a massive chorus. It has the hallmarks of being a huge track for the band, I would put money on it being a single track. The song has the power to make people hearing it for the first time stop and think ‘who is this, I need to give them more of a listen’. I go back and have a second listen straight away, the track is so easy to listen to, an instant enjoyment.
The second of these belters is ‘No Wishbones’. For me its hands down the best track on the album. This track is the perfect mix of old and new SikTh. It is quick, it is powerful, the vocals sit fantastically above the music and it is easy to get into. I can already hear the fans singing this at the top of their voices when the band plays it live. It has everything you would expect from a great SikTh track, a great chorus and and fantastic off time all over the place middle 8 and ending. Again I gave the track a few more listens to really get the feel for it and after the third time I am already singling along in places. This was a pre release for the album pre orders and I can see why, it is truly a great track that I can’t stop listening to.
The album as a whole is what SikTh fans have wanted for a long time, the tracks are well written, superbly recorded and they show a fresh new side to the band. Its the perfect combination of classic SikTh and new, slightly easier on the ear SikTh for those who don’t like it quite as hectic.
This album has flown to the top of my albums of 2017 list and from initial reports I am definitely not the only one who thinks as much. I urge everyone to give it a good thorough listen right now, I assure you, you will be impressed. ‘The Future In Whose Eyes’ is some of SikTh’s finest work to date. An absolute Musical masterpiece form start to finish.