Review Summary: A welcome return, featuring socially conscious lyrics and retaining the band's signature (if somewhat toned down) chaotic sound
It's almost hard to believe that it's been eleven years since we last had a SikTh record. Even back in the early-mid 2000's when the band released Death of a Dead Day, they still sounded so far ahead of their time, sounding like nothing that anyone had ever heard of. Since that album was released, the band has broken up, reformed, released an EP and lost their founding vocalist, Justin Hill. However, even whilst the band was in dormancy, they continued to influence many musicians, notably Misha Mansoor of Periphery fame. Whilst the djent scene may not be to everyone's taste, it's undeniable that SikTh showcased the style at its most creative, bonkers, schizophrenic and explosive, and the band's third record, "The Future in Whose Eyes?", is a reminder to fans and newcomers alike that the band is still a force to be reckoned with.
This is a socially conscious album. Vocalist and main songwriter Mikee Goodman discusses many issues on this album, such as the issues of the music industry ("Golden Cufflinks"), a topic which was discussed on their last EP Opacities but is expanded upon here. Other topics include poverty ("No Wishbones") and delving into the human psyche with topics like traumatic dreams ("Vivid"). SikTh's music has always been socially conscious, but it almost seems like this album was the inevitable result of the changes the world has gone through since Death of a Dead Day was released eleven years ago, and because of that it feels all the more of a welcome return, and definitely worth the wait for what it is.
The instrumentation on this album is still as you'd expect, with plenty of intricate, technical riffs woven around soaring melodies. The thing that makes SikTh particularly unique when compared to most modern metalcore bands is the subtle changes between the heavier sections of their music and the melodic sections, which helps their music flow extremely well, providing them with a unique ordo ab chao sound. The rhythm section is as solid as ever, with the bass being heard loud and clear throughout the whole album and the drums providing many head-bobbing grooves and impressive fills. Make no mistake, this is a band which knows how to write music, and has shown that throughout their entire history.
What will be new to listeners on this album is the introduction of new vocalist Joe Rosser, also of Aliases fame (A band that guitarist Pin is also involved with). The first thing to note is that he is no Justin Hill, and this is perhaps the main criticism of this album. His vocals are by no means a detriment to the music, but when the two vocalists are compared it's no question which one is the stronger of the two, and whilst it was no easy task to replace Hill, it never feels like Joe Rosser meets the precedented expectations. In addition, the lyrics on "The Future in Whose Eyes?" are some of the weakest lyrics that SikTh has ever offered, and despite the relevance of a lot of the topics, a lot of the lyrics come across as fairly childish and leave a fair bit to be desired. Instrumentally, whilst the band retains their signature sound, it is somewhat toned down when compared to the previous SikTh releases. A noticeable change is the higher prevalence of clean vocals, and this slightly toned down sound may turn off some listeners.
However, despite these drawbacks, this is still a fine release from a band that hasn't released an album in over a decade, and that in and of itself is never an easy task to pull off. Its slightly more accessible sound may also attract more new listeners, which is never a bad thing, but this is an album that should be listened to by old and new fans alike. "The Future in Whose Eyes?" is a welcome return for SikTh and a fine addition to their already impressive discography.
Weavers of Woe
Riddles of Humanity
Ride the Illusiuon