Whilst the original SikTh album ‘The Trees Are Dead And Dried Out” was a true classic, this new offering is vastly superior, adding more pace, variation and musical skill to the original SikTh sound. Each member of the band is incredibly talented – guitarists Pin and Dan Weller are at the top of their game – fully showing off their skill this time around with solos that are both melodic and incredibly technical. James Leach once again shows that he is a very talented and capable bass player. His bass is heard clearly through the guitars. Dan Ford throws in some very interesting beats, there seems to be more double kick this time around. The duelling vocals of Justin Hill and Mikee Goodman are typically hyperactive sounding, with just as much melody as the previous album, if not more.
‘Bland Street Bloom’ kicks off the album with a brief, quiet intro before the main riff comes in. Brief scales punctuate each repetition of the riff, whilst Mikee and Justin scream their heads off for a bit till the chorus comes in. The chorus is pretty damn catchy – "A world of wonders/Man made mechanical thunders" – and Pin adds a nice little tapping lead to the mix. The next verse is interrupted briefly by a harmonised tapping riff before we go into a “breakdown” of sorts, followed by a singing section. The outro is pure hyperactivity, Pin playing the harmonised tapping riff of the second verse whilst Dan plays the standard riff – sounds very good.
‘Summer Rain’ is one of the faster tracks. There seem to be slapped harmonics by the guitarists here – showing how they think outside of the box and try to be original and unpredictable as possible. The verses are very driving and there is a very cool lead line played in the chorus…the solo here is very, very good but not the best on the album. There are some nice runs from the guitarists in later riffs.
‘Mermaid Slur’ is a poem track, much like ‘When Will the Forest Speak’ from the first album, but much shorter unfortunately. Still great fun!
‘Part of the Friction’ is my personal favourite from this album. Some nice double kick patterns in the intro, the vocals are nicely memorable and melodic the whole way through. Pin and Dan add some nice leads to the song up to the middle eight, which is where the song really gets good. Dan Ford begins a massive build up on his toms, whilst Mikee screams how we feed off the world and ruin it (my interpretation, I’m probably wrong) till he screams “You’re all the same!” whilst Justin wails away in the background till Pin comes in with a tapping line, sounds epic as *** with Justin’s singing vocals. Pin and Dan harmonise my favourite riff on the album, it’s just so melodic and powerful. The song goes into the verse riff, then back into the chorus one last time. Epic.
‘Where Do We Fall?’ is the “ballad” of the album, as it is mostly singing - much like ‘Peep Show’ from the first album. All very nice sounding, the bass punches through nicely with some cool fills. A great (if brief) solo is in there as well.
‘Another Sinking Ship’ picks up the pace again, back to hyperactive duelling vocals and double kick drums. Still clean singing in there however…at around the 1:54 mark Pin begins a solo with a whammy bar dive before going into some impossible sounding runs, Dan’s solo is also insane, some nice tasteful bends in there. Dan Ford blasts (closed roll on snare and hi-hats / ride bell) over the solos, making them all the faster and impressive sounding.
The only fault I personally had with the first SikTh album was that the album sometimes lost pace with unnecessary tracks like ‘Emersion’ but that has been remedied on this, the pace keeps the whole way through. I have no faults with this album, the production is immense, the guitar tone is incredible (Possibly due to the quality of guitars, pickups and amps Pin and Dan use…) the bass tone is fat and the drums sound class. Album of the year so far for me!
+ Immense instrumentals, haven’t heard better in all honesty.
+ Great vocal work and production
+ Lyrics typically great – “You wanna say why you’re wanking in a well for?”
- Urm…too progressive for some perhaps
- Very fast and heavy, less ‘relaxed’ then their last album
- …that’s about it!