Album review: SikTh – The Future in Whose Eyes?

Genre: Progressive metal

Release date: 2nd June, 2017

Record label: Millennium Night / Peaceville / Snapper

Sikth - Future in Whose EyesThe third album by Watford’s very own progressive pioneers SikTh, The Future in Whose Eyes?, may have more pressure mounted on its shoulders than any other metal album of this year. Not only is it the first SikTh release since 2015’s Opacities EP, but it is their first full-length, full-blooded studio album in eleven long, gruelling years. And with this band’s back-catalogue being, up to this point, practically perfect in its mind-bending post-modernism, you’d think it would be impossible for The Future in Whose Eyes? to live up to the hype.

But it does.

It really, really does.

In fact, the band’s long-awaited third LP is such a rip-roaring success that not only is it worth the agonising eleven-year build-up, but it would be worth a wait twice that long. The label of “progressive metal” is one that is definitely thrown about far too often in today’s vast and diverse rock sphere, but The Future in Whose Eyes? is an experience truly deserving the mantle, with every second feeling genuinely unpredictable and awe-inspiring.

The song-writing, structuring and compositions of entries like “Cracks of Light”, “Ride the Illusion” and “Century of the Narcissist?” all deserve monumental praise, with SikTh’s avant-garde style a result of only the most blinding technicality and talent from every single band member.

Singer Joe Rosser makes his debut with the band alongside veteran co-vocalist Mikee W. Goodman, with their intense, sometimes melodic (especially on the anthemic “Golden Cufflinks” and “Riddles of Humanity”) trade-offs bringing a frenetic ride that darts and dives like a speeding insect in the periphery of one’s vision.

The guitars of Dan Weller and the man only known as Pin are similarly skilful. Whether it’s highly intricate lead shredding or more chord-orientated work, both men knock it out of the park, bringing the polyrhythmic destruction in a mess of gorgeously structured notes that are beyond even the word “complex”.

The rhythm section of bassist James Leach and drummer Dan Foord follows suit, building a mindblowing tone through unrelenting talent and a more-than-apparent love of pushing the realms of aural possibility and messing with the heads of the listener.

Add in a guest appearance by Periphery frontman Spencer Sotelo on “Cracks of Light” and the end result with The Future in Whose Eyes? is a prog lover’s wet dream, jam-packed as densely as SikTh could manage with avant-garde experimentalism as well as continually beautiful riffs, unforeseeable rhythmic structures and a handful of sweet sprinklings of the most rousing harmonies.

Complete with three atmospheric interludes in “This Ship Has Sailed”, “The Moon Has Been Gone for Hours” and album closer “When It Rains”, The Future in Whose Eyes? is a delectable treat for both the ear and the mind. It challenges its listeners and dares them to explore new, frantic territories. This is a true rollercoaster of an album, complete with more loops and twists than the vast majority of albums by SikTh’s progressive contemporaries, which in and of itself is enough to make this among the best albums 2017 has given metalheads thus far.

The Future in Whose Eyes? gets 10 elevators out of 10.

The Future in Whose Eyes? will be available via Millennium Night and Peaceville Records on 2nd June, 2017.