Sikth come out of the shadows
Armed with their first new music in nearly a decade, tech metal kings Sikth have delved into darkness to redefine music all over again.
This month, Sikth will release their first new music in almost a decade.
The six men who practically wrote the blueprint for the tech metal explosion that is still seeing the likes of Tesseract and Periphery flying high will be showing the proggy pups how it’s done for the very first time. As it happens, Opacities, a five-track mini-album, picks up where 2006’s Death Of A Dead Day left off. In-between the complex riffs and the bells and whistles that made Sikth, well, Sikth, you’ll find six musicians re-energised by their lengthy hiatus and a new approach to songwriting which has more groove and the space to allow their million-ideas-per-second to breathe.
Amid the controlled chaos, however, there’s an uneasiness that bubbles under the surface. A quick glance would suggest that co-vocalist Mikee Goodman’s lyrics typically examine how truly fucked society is. But, as Metal Hammer discovers, he’s picked at old wounds to explore the tar-black moments of his life – a potentially damaging experiment designed to complement the depth and pace of the music itself.
“This music was not easy to write lyrics to,” he explains, “but you have to be true to yourself. I see a lot of light and dark and Opacities is really dark, to be honest. So, there are songs about getting out of a depressive mindset, but there’s positivity and escapism, too.
“I’ve had happy periods, but I’ve had a lot more depressive periods,” he adds quietly. “It’s a massive battle, but to sing and scream and write out poetry is therapeutic.”
Tellingly, it’s the story of a 2012 trip to Japan that has informed what is possibly his best work, an atmospheric spoken-word piece called Tokyo Lights. At the time, the idea of Sikth ever performing again seemed absurd, and so, with a gnawing sense of dissatisfaction and the feeling of being uncomfortable in the UK, Mikee headed to the bustling city in search of inspiration. He’d fallen in love with the country ever since the band played there in 2004 and felt the need to hit reset and rediscover the essence of what drove him to create in the first place.
“I was in a stale place,” he reveals. “I was depressed and felt like I didn’t know what I was doing, so I wanted to go to Japan.”
With a voice like a demon guzzling a mug of hot treacle, Mikee’s lyrics recount an inspirational night out through a fantastical narrative: ‘Don’t let your boat be empty/Don’t be a sunken dream’ he admonishes at the end of the track. It would appear his 12,000-mile roundtrip paid dividends.
“It’s a magical place,” he smiles. “I felt at home, even though I don’t speak the language.”
Mikee says that channelling creative ideas into new Sikth material, video production or spoken word helps him get through the blackest of days – and he sounds all the more positive for it.
“That’s what gets it out,” he says, matter-of-factly. “To be honest, it’s where you are in your life, too. You might feel really good if things are going well. It’s when things aren’t going well that could lead you to going further and further into that place. It’s easy for people to say ‘think positive’, but it’s easier said than done. I draw on experiences of coming out of depression and [these lyrics were] a massive challenge to write. It’s a massive form of therapy for me.”