After a seven year hiatus, England's infamous Progressive Metal outfit Sikth reunited with their original line up and unleashed a very promising EP, Opacities. Reunions can be a fickle business, able to swing in any direction. It set the bar high for this full length release but I wasn't anticipating the band to, dare I say it, out do their classic debut The Trees Are Dead And Dried Out... . Its a bold statement to make and it comes over twenty or more listens where learning the ins and outs has only strengthened my adoration of a record that plays through hit after hit. There isn't a weak point to be found, everything is utterly brilliant and the albums moving, emotional poetic breaks performed by Mikee Goodman on "This Ship Has Sailed", "The Moon's Been Gone For Hours" & "When It Rains" perfectly fit the theme while juxtaposing the musical intensity of the Metal tracks persona. Upon writing this Ive learned that Justin Hill left the band before the record, his replacement Joe Rosser barely noticeable, fitting snugly into the Sikth sound with a similar vocal style.
Reflecting on the current social political state of affairs, Sikth's concurrent theme of disconnection from nature seems the ideal stage for their statements littered throughout insightful lyrics. The most potent of which found neatly packaged as punch lines in the illuminated choruses and hooks that spark every song. "Century Of The Narcissist" remarks on the sharing obsessed social media generation and the impact it will have on us. The best of it comes out in the choruses "Money makes the world go round, they weave the web without a sound" breaking from the frantic screech and shouting to glossy melodic, sing along hooks that will make wonderful moments live.
Each song is armed with these hooks and the compositions are thick, dense, rife with ideas. Never does a song get dull, the compositions find plenty of temperament to direct the energy into different direction with passageways of Post-Rock melodic, shimmering acoustic guitars, djenty time signature break outs and all sorts of creative avenues. In its density the band fly out the traps with intrepid riffs, bouncing off one another with lively fret board blazing melodies interwoven between chugging grooves. The drums charge down with an arsenal of tricks to liven the show, in every song you can hear stunning moments of creativity that might pass you by with an inattentive ear. The bass gets in on the action making itself known with jiving high strung slaps to rise from the backbone groove and add some aesthetic dazzle.
I touched on it before but this album is simple loaded with stunning sing along moments as the choruses come with a masterstroke to elevate what are mostly already excellent, absorbing songs. Guest vocalist Spencer Sotelo of Periphery may steal the show with one of the albums best, his powerful, bright, pristine voice is quite possibly becoming my absolute favorite in this generation of Metal. It all comes together through a production that I barely noticed. A total compliment, everything feeling so together and on point that never the texture of the instruments come into question, or do they ever clash. The albums flow is superb, each song a pleasure and rolling from one to the next you'll find yourself at the end drooling for more. If I had any criticism it may be a lack of the experimental flavor tracks like "Emerson" and "Tupelo" brought their debut, however it in no way feels lacking of a need for it. The album stands on its own two and those elements of their sound are left in the past. "The Future In Whose Eyes" is utterly brilliant, a contender for best album this year.