Album Review – The Future in Whose Eyes? by SikTh (Peaceville Records)
SikTh, the Watford based progressive metal band, are back with their latest album, The Future in Whose Eyes? It is SikTh’s first album release in over a decade. Their last release came in 2006 with Death of a Dead Day. The Future in Whose Eyes was released on the 2nd of June via Millennium Night/Peaceville Records.
I am sure you have all heard of SikTh right? They are a big name in the metal community, mainly due to them being known as one of the pioneering band’s of “djent”. SikTh are a progressive metal band, or a mathcore band, who experiment with sound, tones, timings and well, everything else. They try to push boundaries, and have done so, even though their career has been relatively short with just three full length albums in their 18 year existence. Three albums including The Future in Whose Eyes.
They have been a busy band in those 18 years though. They managed to squeeze in a 6 year hiatus from 2007 to around late 2013. A surprise reunion set at Download 2014 officially announced the band’s return before a crowd funded EP, via Pledge Music, was released in Opacities. A few tours and festival slots followed before Justin Hill announced his permanent retirement from the band. He was replaced by Joe Rosser from the band Aliases.
SikTh, 2017, are Mikee Goodman and Joe Rosser on vocals. Dan Weller and Graham Pinney are the guitarists while Weller also plays piano. The bass is looked after by James Leach while drums and percussion is looked after by Dan Foord.
The Future in Whose Eyes has 12 tracks on it and is around 46 minutes long. To be blunt, this album is really, really good. It is probably the most accessible SikTh album released to date. For people, like me, who weren’t quite sure about the chaotic experimentation on older albums, this little bit of restraint is a blessing. There is still chaos, and this is very recognisably SikTh, but it is just a little toned down. A little tamer.
I imagine that will not be news long term fans want to hear but hopefully it isn’t so restrained you can’t enjoy it. The biggest change for long term fans is the new vocalist, Joe Rosser. I think Joe does a fantastic job. Of course he is a different vocalist to Justin Hill so you would have to be a bit mental to expect the singing to sound exactly the same. It doesn’t but I do think Joe sounds great and slots in very nicely. He is neither worse nor better than Justin, just a little different.
Lyrically, as the album title suggests, The Future in Whose Eyes? is quite a deep and searching question. They look both externally and internally at the “current state” of the world, politics and the environment. There are more personal moments too, dealing with illnesses like depression. The one thing to come from this new world we all live in today is the amount of material it offers to reflective songwriters.
The album starts with the single Vivid, a song I really enjoyed (as you can tell by our review). I really like the singing styles. The way Mikee Goodman and Joe Rosser harmonise and interweave their vocals is quite mesmerising. There are great examples on this throughout the album but Ride The Illusion and Weavers of Woe are real stand out tracks vocally. Both are heavy songs with lyrics coming out at pace during the verses. They build throughout and then move into harmonised vocals in the verses.
Aside from the clever teamed vocals, there are also a couple spoken word songs on The Future in Whose Eyes. Both act a little like precursors to following tracks. While not uncommon, either in metal or with SikTh, there is more spoken word on this latest release than on previous ones. First we have Goodman delivering This Ship Has Sailed which introduces the excellent Weavers of Woe.
Later in the album we have The Moon’s Been Gone for Hours. This sounds like the intro to a horror movie which is always a nice addition. While I like both of these spoken word songs/poems, they aren’t really the sort of thing you are going to continuously return to. Hear them once or twice and then they become the tracks to skip. “The Moon” leads directly into Riddles of Humanity. This track is a fast, swirling song with frantic sounding verses that eventually lead into a more rhythmic chorus. The riff is chaotic and the timings are interesting.
Carrying on the standout moments, we have guest vocals on Cracks of Light. Periphery’s Spencer Sotelo adds his vocal talents to the chorus on what is a really good song to listen to. With so much vocal talent on offer with SikTh anyway, adding a third just makes it even more unique and intriguing. Cracks of Light, dealing with depression, is quite an uplifting song. Spoken word is used to tell a story in the verses before a big, encouraging chorus tells you “you aren’t the only one to feel this way”.
There are a lot of good tracks on the album but I think my favourite is Golden Cufflinks. It has a real sense of “epic” to it. The vocals are great and, while it is a slower song, the accompanying riff and drum beat is excellent and empowering. Another absolute banger of a track would be Weavers of Woe. It is a long track and becomes almost an advert for the different styles on show across the whole album.
Strong vocal mixing with fast verses and heavy drums lead into more melodic sections and then back again. There is a big and catchy chorus and clever time signatures stamped all over the track. Just check out that scratchy sounding riff as you near the end.
One complaint I do have though is the pretty dull and boring end to the album. The song, called When it Rains, is about as anticlimactic as a song can be. With a little spoken word, the album fades to close with a load of atmospheric synth which is at odds with everything else on the album.
One complaint doesn’t change the fact that The Future In Whose Eyes is an accomplished album which will draw interest from new fans. I am testament to that. I hope the polished, slightly restrained sound doesn’t put off long term fans either. It is creative, interesting and often infectious. The vocals are strong and the music is clever throughout the album, well, other than the poor ending song.
Amazingly, SikTh have returned to a now saturated genre but with one release have reminded everyone why they were inspired in the first place.
The Future in Whose Eyes is out now so why not visit Peaceville Records and pick up a copy, in one of the many available formats. You could also grab it from the Amazon or Apple links below Be sure to check the band out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter too. That way you can keep up to date with news and future releases.
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The Future in Whose Eyes? by SikTh (Peaceville Records)
The Final Score - 8.5/10