SikTh are back! There’s a selection of words I didn’t expect to ever be writing but the original line-up has returned to make new music and the first comeback effort by the band has come into being as Opacities; a 6 track mini-album.
If you’re a fan of the band then you’ll know the SikTh’s 2 long-players actually sit in two different categories. While they have always played technically proficient and extremely progressive metal, their debut album The Trees Are Dead and Dried Out, Wait for Something Wild features music with a much more traditional song structure. Despite how much is going on in the music, there are clear verses, choruses and bridges which is unlike sophomore effort Death of a Dead Day which sees the band indulge in more progressive song-writing.
What Opacities does so well is combine both styles into a cohesive record. The songs are still considerably more long-form like on Death of a Dead Day as most songs average around 5 minutes in length. However, the band has seen fit to structure the songs in the more digestible silhouette of their first record and you’ll notice melodies crop up more frequently in a single song. This means that fans who sat more comfortably with one particular SikTh album can now enjoy the best of both worlds.
There has also been a considerable shift towards heavier grooves on Opacities. Philistine Philosophies is a great example of this as we often find ourselves in almost metalcore-esque beatdown territory but with that wonderfully progressive weirdness that SikTh deal in. While there’s still plenty of tapped leads and general fretboard madness, Opacities doesn’t see guitarists Graham Pinney and Dan Weller dealing in the same higher-pitched, upper-fretboard work that often punctuates The Trees Are Dead and Dried Out.
It’s also extremely satisfying to hear that the duel vocal attack of Mikee Goodman and Justin Hill has improved dramatically. While there is still plenty of screaming on this record, there’s a noticeable shift towards sung melodies with Goodman really showing how versatile a vocalist he can be on songs like Days Are Dreamed. Hill still deals with the glorious, floaty chorus melodies that so often become song highlights but thanks to Goodman’s own singing, Hill’s vocals are bolstered in a more satisfying way on Opacities.
The band still get a little too indulgent for my own liking as another spoken word Goodman piece takes up an entire track on the record where there could have been more music, but this is a minor niggle on a record that showcases exactly why SikTh have become so influential to the tech metal scene we have today.
Opacities is a fantastic comeback by one of the most dearly missed UK metal acts. SikTh are just as exciting and vital as they’ve ever been and despite the 9 year gap between Opacities and Death of a Dead Day, it genuinely feels like the band have never been away. Opacities has a wonderfully natural progression to it and it sounds exactly like the follow-up to Death of a Dead Day that we all dreamed of. It feels wonderful to finally say this but welcome back SikTh. We’ve really missed you.
SikTh’s Opacities is out now and available to buy from Peaceville Records.