Album Review: Sikth – Opacities

After 9 years away Sikth have come back to embarrass everyone else in the scene by just being brain meltingly brilliant.  Their new mini-album Opacities is exactly what modern forward thinking metal should be, exciting, unpredictable and unique. Without missing a beat Sikth have just continued where they left off and re-emerged as frontrunners of the scenes they helped inspire.

Opacities kicks off with blistering pace as opening track “Behind The Doors” leaps out of your speakers with a barrage of finger destroying riffs. You are then subjected to an infectious chugging beat down that undoubtedly will have you doing serious damage to your neck muscles. This really sets the tone for the rest of the album as Opacities is brimming with ridiculous amounts of groove, basically the only way you’re not moving to this album is if rigor mortis has begun setting in. Tracks like “Under The Weeping Moon” have an expert blend of brutality and bounce to them and this relentless amount of insurmountable energy is found throughout the album.

However, Sikth haven’t compromised their virtuosic musical talents in favour of killer grooves, incredible musicianship is here in abundance and then some. This album will either inspire you to pick up and instrument or make you put it down as you know deep down you’ll never be this good. The constant changes in tempo and time signatures make Opacities incredibly unpredictable and on multiple listens it still manages to surprise you. Obviously the guitar work is exceptional and tracks like lead single “Philistine Philosophies” come at you with surgically precise fret work. Despite this only being a mini-album there is a great amount of diversity between songs and album closer “Days Are Dreamed” shows the more expressive and subtle side of the band’s sound. There is a real post rock vibe to this track and the subtle layering of guitars is reminiscent of bands such as Explosions In The Sky and Mogwai. For this song the band are also accompanied by alluringly beautiful strings creating this incredibly mournful and melancholic feel that embraces you in a wall of soothing yet haunting noise. Songs like this really add a different dynamic to the album and show how capable the band are of expanding their sound. There are simply not enough words to really describe how mesmerising this track is and even if you don’t enjoy this album you should at least be able to appreciate the sheer amount of genius on display here.

Along with their penchant for groove and technical riffing Sikth have also always had a great ability to write truly outstanding choruses. With Opacities we are treated to multiple catchy impactful choruses that never step away from the bands signature sound. Vocalists Mikee Goodman and Justin Hill consistently trade vocal lines over mind boggling guitar work and time signatures. This is one of the things that really sets Sikth apart from their peers as they use the twin vocal dynamic to great effect.Both singers constantly battle away at each other often finishing the others phrases mid flow adding to the frantic discordant feel of the music. The approach to the vocals on this album is very much in a similar vein to the music as it constantly leaves you guessing as to just what’s coming next. One minute your being battered by a barrage of insane psychotic screams only to suddenly be hit by an explosion of melody and when these choruses hit they hit hard. Songs like “Walking Shadows” and “Philistine Philosophies” worm their way into your head and refuse to leave. Once you’ve heard these tracks your hooked and its hard to escape the tight grip that these infectious melodies have on you.

For even someone with the highest of high expectations there is no chance of this mini-album disappointing. The fact that this band are able to return after so many years and still release something so relevant and forward thinking is extremely refreshing. When Sikth initially split up the music they helped to inspire became incredibly popular within the metal community, things like djent and technical metal have become commonplace and Sikth are still top of the pile despite their nine year hiatus. With no band during this time managing to come even close to the originality and genius of Sikth it really says a lot about how special this band are. Opacities six exceptional genre defining tracks do an extremely good job of satisfying an appetite for new Sikth material and the excitement for a full length album can only grow from here.


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