Review: Sikth – Empire Hall, Belfast
With a new album to promote it’s strange that Sikth chose to close out 2017 with a mini-tour focusing on their 2006 album; ‘Death Of A Dead Day’. A lure for fans of old to check out a band they’d maybe forgotten about?
Having performed here at their peak in 2006, Sikth has had a cult-like following in Belfast for well over a decade. Inspiring many local bands and often adorning the chest of local musicians, Sikth’s inevitable return had been greatly anticipated but a mere forty minute set supporting Trivium back in March deterred many from revisiting the tech-metal pioneers.
Now rightfully headlining their own show and with the promise of a set dominated by their second album; ‘Death Of A Dead Day’, surely the conditions were right to revisit the band that sold out the Limelight 2 only eleven years ago.
Opening with ‘Philistine Philosophies’ from comeback EP ‘Opacities’, the crowd began to shuffle closer to the stage but the atmosphere remained rather indifferent for the first few tracks of the night. Heavy coats and hats remained firmly on bodies as the band progressed through a mix of material from debut album ‘The Trees Are Dead and Dried Out Wait For Something Wild’ as well as their most recent output ‘The Future In Whose Eyes?’
Sadly the sound never seemed to find its sweet spot for the night with frontman Mikee Goodman making constant remarks about his in-ear monitors and fellow vocalist Joe Rosser taking his out very early into the set. The efforts on stage did not suffer however and it was clear all six men were trying their very best to get their sound perfected.
After a six-song warm up, the band took into the marathon that was ten tracks from ‘Dead Of A Dead Day’. Following the sequence of the album for the first four tracks, the songs rhymed off like listening to the CD. New recruit Joe Rosser adopted the songs as if they were his own, emulating former vocalist Justin Hill perfectly without copying him note for note. The confidence of the new man shone through and he jumped into the crowd to incite a bit of movement while nailing all his vocals on each and every cue.
As the night went on the sheer endurance on guitarists Dan Weller and Pin’s faces became clear to see and one could be forgiven to assume pain took over from pleasure during the technicalities of ‘Another Sinking Ship’ and ‘Sanguine Seas of Bigotry’. Nonetheless, enthusiasm shone through more than anything else and alongside the friendly banter of Mikee Goodman, the crowd were in awe of the musical brilliance on stage.
Suitably finishing with album closer ‘As the Earth Spins Around’, this mini-tour illustrated just why ‘Death of a Dead Day’ deserved another outing before ‘The Future in Whose Eyes?’ rightfully becomes the focus of their setlist. With many tracks tonight unlikely to feature live again, it’s not just a celebration of an album but a unique experience never to be witnessed again.