Tag Archives: sikth

Review: SikTh’s The Future in Whose Eyes?

In 2015, SikTh released their first new music in 9 years with their Opacities EP. Opacities showcased a direct continuation of the band’s sound with their original line-up completely intact, but with the release of their 3rd long-player The Future in Whose Eyes?, founding member and vocalist Justin Hill has parted ways with the band and in his place we now welcome Joe Rosser of Aliases.

As we’ve previously discovered with Rosser’s work in Aliases, the man has a surprisingly similar vocal style to his predecessor, so his inclusion on this record should’ve been a good fit. Unfortunately what’s ended up happening is Mikee Goodman has taken on the brunt of the vocal work on The Future in Whose Eyes? This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because Goodman’s vocals are still instantly recognisable and entirely unique; his voice will forever be a huge part of what makes SikTh SikTh.

Sadly, so does Justin Hill’s voice. Hill leaves a big hole in the wider picture of SikTh’s sound and his sugary, sweeping vocals are not emulated by Rosser. Great examples come in the form of Century of the Narcissist? and The Aura which feature chorus melodies that sit more comfortably in the mid-range and don’t have the same impact as Hill’s soaring melodies.

As for instrumentation, there’s been a conceited effort to strip back SikTh’s song-writing style and focus on a more traditional structure that’s more akin to the band’s material on The Trees are Dead & Dried Out… Songs follow the typical verse/chorus structure and don’t show off many progressive tendencies like the band’s material on Opacities and Death of a Dead Day. It’s certainly not simplistic by any stretch of the imagination and the rhythm section always impresses with their technicality, but the song-writing does feel a little more predictable than usual.

That’s not to say that there isn’t some great material here. Vivid, The Aura, Cracks of Light (featuring a fantastic performance by Spencer Sotelo of Periphery), Riddles of Humanity and No Wishbones are obvious highlights with incredible performances throughout and the strongest melodies on the album. These 5 songs deserve their place on any SikTh setlist from here on and they show that regardless of the band’s change in personnel, they’re still the same SikTh you know and love.

There is one glaring flaw with The Future in Whose Eyes? though; someone needs to reign in Mikee Goodman. Goodman is singing on more choruses than ever on this record and it makes Rosser’s inclusion in the line-up feel a little redundant. The point of SikTh’s dual vocalists is that the two men bring different things to the table, but with this record the line is getting quite blurry and it’s not really benefiting the music. We also get 3 different spoken word tracks from Goodman which means there’s only 9 songs on the album which feature the entire band in action. If you’ve been waiting 11 years for another SikTh long-player then that’s a tad disappointing.

However, there’s no denying that there simply isn’t another band like SikTh. The Future in Whose Eyes? does manage to remind you frequently that SikTh are a band like no other and a true innovator in UK heavy music. The performances on this album could only have come from SikTh and as we’ve previously mentioned, there’s definitely 5 future SikTh classics here that deserve your attention. In the end, The Future in Whose Eyes? is an album that sees the band rediscovering themselves in the wake of a vocalist change. It’s sad to see how much it affects the overall product, but there’s more moments of genuine awe then there are moments of weakness on The Future in Whose Eyes? No song on this album is anything you’d regard as bad, but you can definitely tell the change in personnel has had a noticeable effect on the band’s song-writing and overall sound.

7/10

SikTh’s The Future in Whose Eyes? is out now and available to buy direct from the band or via Peaceville Records.


Review: Aliases’ Derangeable

Digipack Layout

Blimey, that new Aliases album is out! The band’s sophomore effort Derangeable felt like it was stuck in crowd-funding hell for quite some time (Safer than Reality was released 5 years ago!), but it’s finally decided to show itself and it’s certainly a mighty tech metal beast that clocks in at a healthy 49 minutes.

Now before we get into the review proper, we have to address the elephant in the room: Aliases new vocalist Joe Rosser sounds a lot like Justin Hill from SikTh. Aliases also feature Graham Pinney on guitar. You know; Pin. From SikTh. This album sounds a lot like SikTh. It sounds so much like SikTh that since its release, Joe Rosser has now replaced Justin Hill in SikTh.

So yeah, there’s quite a heavy SikTh/Aliases crossover going on here and that becomes this album’s biggest weakness. If you’re a SikTh fan then you’ll certainly feel like you’re in very familiar territory. However, if you can ignore the musical similarities then there’s still a lot to love on Derangeable.

This is an incredibly accomplished tech metal release and despite the genre’s tendency to get a bit noodly and directionless for the sake of showing off, Aliases actually manage to sculpt incredibly memorable tech metal songs that flow in a very natural way. They’re also not afraid of getting super tuneful as is evident on tracks like Back to the Start.

On the whole, Derangeable is a real treat for fans of tech metal. We’ve got all manner of guitar wizardry on offer; thunderous riffs are coupled with intricate passages of tapping and they’re sprinkled with an extremely impressive vocal performance from Rosser who effortlessly switches between sugary crooning and multi-pitched screams. Songs like Deep Sea Avenue are extremely impressive offerings, showcasing a level of musicianship that sounds like it should be impossible to achieve.

Derangeable is a welcome addition to Aliases very limited library and it’s pretty safe to say that if you were a fan of the band before, then this was certainly a record worth waiting for. However, if you’re well versed in tech metal then you’ll certainly notice the similarities to SikTh and while you’ll probably never ask yourself, “why am I not just listening to SikTh?” you’ll certainly wonder if there wasn’t more the band could have done to differentiate themselves a bit.

8/10

Aliases’ Derangeable is out now and available to buy from Basick Records.


Total Rock: Catbird’s Sunday Roasting 17/1/2016

total rock logo

On Sunday the 17th of January 2016 we finally returned to Total Rock to appear on Catbird’s Sunday Roasting! If you missed our appearance on the show then you can click below to listen to the podcast on MixCloud. Here’s a list of our picks and the time-stamps for each song are listed beside them:

11:59 – SikTh – Philistine Philosophies
42:18 – Boxkite – Cycles
50:29 – TORPOR – As Waves Crash
1:04:23 – Gnarwolves – Boneyard
1:14:25 – I, The Lion – Hold Strong
1:20:21 – Eulogy – Deaf Cult
1:44:17 – Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters – Chopsticks and Bad Meatballs
1:50:20 – Iced Out – Man’s Ruin
1:53:58 – TEEF – Consumed
1:56:25 – Samoans – Stompbox
2:05:06 – Mage – One for the Road


Year End: The 10 Best EPs of 2015

yearendeps

10) Geist – Faith Healing

faithhealing

Faith Healing ends with a monologue about the futility of worshipping a God who hasn’t done anything to prove that he actually, “loves you”. It’s a stark, bleak ending to an EP loaded with some of the most unforgiving hardcore the UK has to offer and a timely reminder that we need bands like Geist to provide a visceral release from the shitstorm that is real life.

Click here to read the full review.

9) Boxkite – Self Titled

boxkite

“Boxkite have burst out the gates with a hardcore debut that doesn’t mess about. This is 6 tracks of solid, bouncy yet strangely forlorn punk that leaves a serious mark. Anyone looking for the next great UK hardcore band might want to seriously consider grabbing Boxkite’s debut EP while it’s hot; you won’t regret it.”

Click here to read the full review.

8) Eulogy – Eternal Worth

eulogy

“Eulogy have hit their stride on Eternal Worth. This is a record that doesn’t mess about and gets straight to the point. This is a laser-focussed metallic hardcore assault that is big on groove and if the name change wasn’t a big enough indicator, it marks an important step up for Eulogy as a band.”

Click here to read the full review.

7) Simmer – Yellow Streak

simmer

“Simmer’s Yellow Streak is a rare gem of a record. The EP is full of soaring melodies and satisfying riffs that are punctuated with a beautifully reflective vocal performance. Even though this is only the band’s second EP, it feels like they’ve already mastered their craft and Yellow Streak might be a defining moment in their career.”

Click here to read the full review.

6) Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters – Earth Hog

earthhog

“Earth Hog is an easy recommendation to make. If you’ve ever enjoyed a riff that might result in whiplash then Chubby have delivered an absolute haven of guitar wizardry. Earth Hog is loaded with some of the best grooves stoner rock has to offer and it’s one of the most satisfying debuts of any band.”

Click here to read the full review.

5) I, The Lion – Run

Run EP Cover - FINAL

“I, The Lion’s Run is a wonderful celebration of riff rock. It’s a gargantuan-sounding EP loaded with some of alt-rock’s most thunderous melodies and it constantly evolves and welcomes new ideas into it’s already accomplished sound. A lacklustre opening hides one of rock’s most enjoyable EPs and I, The Lion need to be a band you start paying immediate attention to.”

Click here to read the full review.

4) Iced Out – Man’s Ruin

icedout

“Iced Out have finally found their comfort zone. Man’s Ruin is an enormous, towering beast of an EP that sees the band embrace slower tempos and tunings so low you might soil yourself. Now it’s time for Iced Out to take their sludgecore leanings and finally deliver the sort of devastating album that Man’s Ruin is threatening to. Good luck, boys; we’re looking forward to it.”

Click here to read the full review.

3) Maths – The Fires Courting the Sea

maths

“Maths’ The Fires Courting the Sea is a phenomenal melodic punk record which manages to cram some of the most beautiful yet utterly pissed off music it can into its 10 minutes. Maths are still one of the UK underground’s most treasured acts and it would be sacrilege for any punk fan to skip on this record. You know what to do.”

Click here to read the full review.

2) SikTh – Opacities

opactities

“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.”

Click here to read the full review.

1) TEEF – Admit Defeat

admitdefeat

“TEEF have put together one of punk’s brightest moments. Admit Defeat is a non-stop powerhouse of grotty violence that’s amazingly memorable despite its aggression. No band in the UK has managed to meld fury with song-writing this catchy nearly as well as TEEF have managed to here and it’s a massive shame that the band won’t be making anymore music. Admit Defeat might be the last TEEF record but as swan-songs go, this couldn’t be any better.”

Click here to read the full review.


Review: SikTh’s Opacities

opactities

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.

9/10

SikTh’s Opacities is out now and available to buy from Peaceville Records.


Review: Red Seas Fire’s Resolution

redseasfire

Technical metalcore mob Red Seas Fire return with Resolution, a 4 track EP stuffed with the sort of tech metal that bands like Periphery and SikTh deal in. If constantly evolving prog metal stuffed with a thousand riffs, screamed vocals and soaring melodies sounds like something that’ll whet your appetite, then Red Seas Fire certainly deliver.

Red Seas Fire are actually a far more approachable prospect than a lot of tech metal bands as their heavier moments generally take on the sort of shape that metalcore often deals with. This means lot of double-bass drumming and the sort of single-chord beatdowns that I often don’t get on too well with. However, Red Seas Fire actually use these moments a lot more sparingly which means they never outstay their welcome before they segue into a beautiful melody like the one nearer the end of Blood Bank. There’s still no denying that this sort of heaviness is still a lazy excuse to have an obvious passage for people to mosh to, but at least Red Seas Fire understand how to temper these moments with some genuinely fantastic riffs and vocal melodies.

Sadly the band do get a bit bogged down in this territory for the 9 minute behemoth that is The Mistakes We Make; an apt song title for a song that spends too long worshipping down-tuned beatdowns and not doing enough to warrant it’s enormous length. This is a real shame because the band manage to prove elsewhere (and in the latter half of the song) that they’re genuinely talented songwriters who understand nuance and not just bludgeoning their listeners over the head with heaviness.

Resolution is a solid tech metal EP that’s at its best when the songs trade off their moshier moments with huge, anthemic melodies that will be stirring crowds into massive sing-a-longs. Red Seas Fire clearly have the ability to write great metal but their over-reliance on beatdowns means they undersell their abilities. Thankfully the better moments on Resolution shine brighter than the duller, chuggy, one-chord riffs that the band often deal in and the whole EP pops with a satisfying chunky mix that will get your head banging in no time.

7/10

Red Seas Fire’s Resolution is out now and available to download for free via the band’s website.


Review: Oblivionized’s Life is a Struggle, Give Up

oblivionized

It’s been a long time coming, but tech-grind lunatics Oblivionized have finally delivered an album. Starting out as a 5-man progressive death metal act, the band have found powerful new legs as a trio and Life is a Struggle, Give Up showcases exactly how far the band have come since their 2011 debut EP.

Kicking things off, Lower Your Expectations manages to sum up exactly what Oblivionized are about in less than 2 minutes. The song deals in mind-melting polyrhythms, relentless blast-beats, bile-ridden screams and down-tuned guitar wizardry. This is extremely testing stuff but guitarist Sammy Urwin always chooses the perfect opportunities to lay off the technicality for a moment of groovy, neanderthal-esque head-banging like in the final moments of Cry Yourself to Ash. It’s the perfect combination of utter recklessness and it’s the sort of madness you’d probably get if members of SikTh and Suicide Silence formed a super-group.

The album’s title track is another great example of Oblivionized making technical death metal more palatable. Half way through the track the song changes from an unforgiving attack of guitar tapping and blast-beats to a slower-paced beatdown that wouldn’t feel out of place on an Oceano record. It’s not often we praise a band for using single-chord breakdowns but Oblivionized use them masterfully. Songs like Whore Dogs are all the better for their stylistic shift from angular craziness to riff-heavy sections.

We can’t continue without mentioning the stunning performance of drummer Will Merlin who absolutely decimates his kit throughout this record. A performance this furious deserves a great mix and thankfully this has also been accommodated. Most tech-metal records aim for robot-like precision in their mixes but thankfully every glorious, bass-heavy tom hit and cymbal crash has been captured with the savageness it deserves.

It’s also worth mentioning that Oblivionized’s lack of bassist is actually an element that helps this record. The addition of another guitar could’ve made this album a considerably difficult listening experience as the band’s sound is already breezeblock-thick. Urwin’s guitar-work cuts through the screaming and drumming and adds all the melody the band could ever need. Oblivionized manage to work a little too well considering their limitations.

Life is a Struggle, Give Up is Oblivionized firing on all cylinders. This is an unforgiving attack of tech-metal, grind and deathcore that is sculpted with finite detail and it’s not afraid to hit you over the head with a monolithic riff for good measure. This might be an exhausting ordeal on your first listen, but give it the time it deserves and it will slowly unveil a metal record for the ages.

9/10

Oblivionized’s Life is a Struggle, Give Up is released on Secret Law Records later this month. Pre-order it by clicking here.


News: Basick Records Announce Vinyl Releases for SikTh and Circles Albums

vinylsikth

Basick Records will release SikTh’s ‘Death of a Dead Day’ and Circles’ ‘Infinitas’ on vinyl for the first time this Record Store Day. Both records are double LP releases with 3 tracks per side.

Record Store Day takes place on April 19th. A full list of participating stores can be found by clicking here.

SikTh return for their first live show since 2008 at Download Festival on the 14th of June where they headline the Red Bull stage.


News: Mikee Goodman (ex-SikTh) is Back With New Band Outpatients

outpatients

Mikee Goodman, the previous vocalist of Watford tech-metallers SikTh is back with a new band called Outpatients.

Goodman describes the band in this comment:

“It’s heavy, got electronic elements and really tough grooves, but also contains epic, dark melodies. I am singing in a very aggressive style on most songs, which I like doing.”

The band also have a UK tour booked for October. The dates are:

18/10 – The Anvil in Bournemouth
19/10 – The Hope in Brighton
20/10 – Scholar Bar in Leicester
21/10 – The Boileroom in Guildford
24/10 – 02 Academy 2 in Oxford
25/10 – To be announced
30/10 – The Black Heart in Camden
31/10 – The White Rabbit in Plymouth

Check out the band’s first song and music video ‘Throw Rocks’ by clicking here.


Touring: Aliases Playing This Weekend

Manchester tech metal mob Aliases who feature ex-SikTh guitarist Graham ‘Pin’ Pinney are playing 2 festival dates this Saturday and Sunday. Check below for full details on both dates:

17/3/2012
A.N.T. (A Night of Tech): The All Dayer at The Dirty South
£5 entry
Also featuring The Machinist (last show), ExistImmortal, Karybdis, Broken Torment, Fall Against Fate, Tradjectory, I, The Writer, Bleeding Oath, Sentience of Eschaton, Animus Sadist, Devolver and Descension

18/3/2012
Takedown 2012 at Southampton Uni
Tickets £22.50 (tickets need to be bought in advance from seetickets.com or ticketweb.co.uk)
Also featuring Skindred, Deaf Havana, Lower Than Atlantis, Canterbury, Don Broco, Bury Tomorrow, Bleed From Within, Heights, The Safety Fire, Feed The Rhino, Polar, The James Cleaver Quintet and Desolated

And here’s why you should be going: