SikTh

Concert Review by Kris Griffiths

Mean Fiddler, London – January 2004

If heavy metal can be delineated on the political spectrum model, with Death Metal at the far right, Metallica at centre and Nickelback far left, SikTh is as close as you can get to the far right while retaining any semblance of tunes and commercial viability. Visually and sonically psychotic, theirs is a sound of radical, progressive metal oozing originality and musical flair. SikTh will be the first of their kind to reach the heights they are set to reach.

Since their inception in 2001, the Watford (UK) sextet have been invited to support Machine Head, sold out two headline tours, enjoyed extensive MTV airplay of their animated video HOW MAY I HELP YOU?, and have been vaunted all the way by Kerrang and BBC Radio 1. All this despite being the musical equivalent of a collapsed star spewing fiery debris in all directions. Tonight they headline a packed Mean Fiddler and give chaos as good as they receive.

In the deliverance of most of their debut album THE TREES ARE DEAD AND DRIED OUT WAIT FOR SOMETHING WILD, the brutal vocal onslaught from SikTh’s tag-ream vocalists Justin and Mikee crashes forth on a wave of visceral and guttural screams, which are impressively reciprocated by the crowd. It’s refreshing to witness so many youngsters in the crowd not so much appreciating this kind of extreme music as forming one frenzied unified moshpit, feeding and feeding off the whirlwind onstage.

Tunes like SCENT OF THE OBSCENE and SKIES OF THE MILLENNIUM NIGHT encapsulate the flawless musicianship in the relentless guitar and drum barrage. With melodies fractured and disjointed, and time signatures all over the place, headbanging becomes a pointless business – one can only pause for breath and marvel at how arrangements so complex can sound so tight. Yet the sound is so bludgeoning it makes your bones rattle within their sockets. When the band finally leave the stage, it suddenly becomes tricky walking in a straight line towards the exit.

Who knows whether SikTh can expand upon the commercial interest they’ve already generated and push such extreme metal into the spotlight. At least they’re doing what they like how they like, and making most other nu-metal outfits sound like squeaking hamsters in comparison.

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