The history behind the Watford bunch is illustrious to say the least. Pioneers of a genre now commonplace among the Metal community SikTh are in every sense of the word unique. Leaving their imprint upon the Metal community long after they had dissolved, the band at long last broke their silence last year announcing a reunion performance. Thrusting themselves back into the fray the band decided to shake 2015 up by releasing new material. Originally penned as an EP the record slowly materialised to a mini album, a perfect reintroduction to a band as infamous as their history. Celebrating their new landmark the band embarked on a UK tour culminating in the capital.
Beginning the night’s proceedings are the fitting Destrage. Italian born progressive movers and shakers the band combine the energy of the likes of Punk and Hardcore with the musical dexterity of Progressive Metal. Arriving onto the stage the band launch straight into “Destroy Create Transform Sublimate“. Often being the first band on can be a difficult endeavour, shaking off those rusty cobwebs from the day and turning the audience into a participating act Destrage are incredibly good at delivering the balance between technicality along with the showy performances.
Complete with lights on his bass Gabriel, prowls the stage whilst it’s flanked by the flight footed guitarist who springs off podiums. Much of the material making up the band’s latest album, complete with title track “Are You Kidding Me? No.” the seven minute wonder blisters past. No doubt at times perhaps hard to distinguish exactly all the goings on within the music due to its complex nature the band deliver satisfying groove that starts the night off perfectly.
One of the biggest strings to Progressive Music’s bow is the open mind. With this notion we come to a slightly different performance than perhaps The Forum is used to. Combining elements of the new wave of Djent as well as hip hop Hacktivist have been slowly but surely making waves across the scene. Enlisted as tonight’s main support, the legions of five panels appear as the band launch into first number “New Age” immediately the energy is galvanised with the presence of two vocalists each covering the sides of the stage. Personally I will admit perhaps it not being to my taste but the band’s performance ability is undeniable. Guitarist Timfy laying down the law with the hand stretching eight string ensuring that those bass drops are as monumentous us as they are meant to be.
Bounding into the crowd on “False Idols” singer Ben Marvin captures the intensity felt in Metal perfectly making Hacktivist a symbiosis of genres. Particularly in the modern day where technology is governing a band. Harnessing the energies from each genre the slight hip hop delivery of our vocalists makes for an interesting and well rounded show. Living up to their name the band move into the politically charged “Elevate” aiming their track at one David Cameron and the non descript decision to begin bombing Syria, because bombing another country has always worked out so well… Regardless of that the band give a fantastic go at the political commentary, with their fingers firmly on the pulse of the younger population particularly with tonight’s these activists are only just beginning their journey into the modern day and with a show like tonight’s I’m sure many more Hacktivists will be enlisted.
Rekindling a friendship can often be a nervous affair. Returning back to the scene after almost a nine year absence Sikth culminate their UK tour tonight. Whilst in the state of cryostasis their status has become somewhat of a cult phenomenon. Brushing off the cobwebs instantly the audience become “Part Of The Friction“. With its strong hooks making for a fantastic and melodic opener, stalked by Mikee Goodman and Justin Hill the stage cowers in the presence of these mighty vocalists. Each both just as essential as the other, the voices in my head delivery of Goodman is parried with the musical bellowing of Hill making for a perfect marriage of contrast. Flanked with the twin guitar attack of Graham Pinney and Dan Weller the string slingers are masters of their instruments.
Jumping with both feet first the band hold their proverbial nose as they perform new single “Philistine Philosophies” received similar to the band’s now classic material, it’s an instant hit. Nevertheless it’s no match for the schizophrenic ramblings of “Pussyfoot” seeing the crowd collectively lose their minds. With the decidedly younger crowd tonight no doubt being initiated into the ways of Sikth through the vehicle of Modern bands it makes for the performance to be somewhat of a phenomenon for the youngun’s. Brought back to earth with maniacal shrieking of “Flogging The Horses” , each instrument sitting well in the mix the sound tonight is pitch perfect. Allowing those with a keen ear to truly drink in all of the wonderous elements in just what consists of a Sikth song.
In what was no doubtedly a first, the spoken word classic lunacies of “When Will The Forest Speak” is hysterically recalled back to Goodman in a devils advocate type of way. Having the entire crowd speak out the words of “Wait For Something Wild” no doubt make an incredible segue combined with the destructive blow of “Peep Show” that would see even a stiff like Mark Corrgian get his groove on. The quintessential “Skies of Millenium Night” receives just as much of a rapturous response as it reputation dictates. Though its highlight of “Sanguine Seas of Bigotry” revisiting The Death of a Dead Day era of the band that resonate tonight. Particularly the earth shaking vocals enhanced to no end with yells of “Sanguine seas of bigotry!!” sung one thousand strong. Dipping quickly back into Opacities number “Under The Weeping Moon” to finally end with a triumphant “Bland Street Bloom“. Regardless of how much time have elapsed between releases and however many bands the members might have been in, Sikth will always remain one of the most inspiring acts of the Modern day. Proving almost effortlessly tonight is a deciding statement that the band are most certainly back. With an album in the pipeline and a potential ten year treat, the band may have been away but tonight it’s felt like no time at all. Hello old friends…