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SikTh - Opacities album art


4th December 2015 – Peaceville Records

01. Behind The Doors
02. Philistine Philosophies
03. Under The Weeping Moon
04. Tokyo Lights
05. Walking Shadows
06. Days Are Dreamed

There’s a popular example of abductive reasoning called the duck test. You’ve probably heard of it; it states that if something looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

Recently returned, the original harbingers of British tech-metal SikTh look like SikTh, move like SikTh, and definitely quack like SikTh. They’re a band who broke up without ever really making it big, but who gained a legion of fans in their absence, and whose return with new record Opacities feels a little like the second coming for many in the scene. If you’re familiar with SikTh at all, then you already know what this EP sounds like: it sounds like a SikTh record – almost to a fault.

Guitarist Dan Weller has said that Opacities “is for our fans who’ve been so loyal”. In terms of opacity, the intent is crystal clear, and as such the reassertion of the signature SikTh sound is no bad thing. There are familiar hallmarks across the record: there’s an insatiable groove, driven by a quartet of incredibly gifted instrumentalists playing with as much technical skill as they ever have; there’s one of Mikee Goodman’s customary spoken word curiosities in the form of “Tokyo Lights” – the “When Will the Forest Speak…?“/”Mermaid Slur” of the record – and in general there’s just an abundance of bounce and energy. These aspects are familiar and comforting, yet some feel overly-trodden on repeat listens.

From a certain perspective this makes absolute sense; to deviate from the sound that has gained them such a following over the past half decade, especially on their return would be risky – yet, in the realms of progressive music, this is a bit of a conundrum, particularly in the case of ”Tokyo Lights“, whose purpose you might start to question; as a device it now feels more indulgent than anything else. You sort of want them to take risks, but Opacities is pretty safe. As ahead of their time as they were, the world has caught up.

So if you’ve been awaiting SikTh’s recorded return so voraciously there are friction burns on your thighs, then Opacities is not going to disappoint you in the slightest, yet there’s nothing that the likes of Protest The Hero, Periphery and Destrage aren’t doing just as well, if not better – which is fine, but Opacities is perhaps not the blinding light some thought it might be.