The loyalty shown to SikTh despite six years of inactivity is truly remarkable.
The Anson Rooms are near sold out, and the bar queue is seven rows deep as my companion and I arrive. Undaunted, we take full advantage of the beer deals and move into the main hall in time for Heart of a Coward to begin their support slot.
It’s standard, no-frills metalcore. Basically just five minute breakdowns, to put things bluntly. It may not be particularly interesting or innovative, but they’re certainly good at what they do. Their frontman interacts very well with the crowd, who reciprocate by making plenty of noise in return. Introducing a song titled “I Don’t Give a F**k”, the singer tells the crowd to pretend they’re fourteen years old again, and being ordered to clean their rooms. I can’t quite tell whether this is an attempt at irony, or directly written about that. I don’t find Heart of a Coward particularly impressive, though to their credit I don’t think they’re balls either.
After a quick excursion for alcohol and nicotine, the moment I’ve been waiting for since about 2007 arrives, and our mighty headliners SikTh explode onto the stage, launching into a set of all the very best tunes from their two acclaimed albums. Jaws all around me are touching the floor as nearly nine hundred people struggle to comprehend how any band can be completely note perfect whilst playing such complicated music, and still storming about the stage with all the energy of puppies on Red Bull.
‘Part of the Friction, ‘Pussyfoot’, and Peepshow’ are obvious highlights, the latter being a surprising inclusion that gets almost the entire crowd singing along. The loyalty shown to SikTh despite six years of inactivity is truly remarkable. My personal favourite tunes are ‘Sanguine Seas of Bigotry’, and ‘Scent of the Obscene’, songs of such insane complexity that I’m still unable to work out the stab patterns and time signatures years after having first heard them.
Reunions are often bittersweet at best, or a bunch of has-beens making a few quid at worst. This show doesn’t even come close to those terms. SikTh are stunning in their virtuosity and compelling in their energy. They’ve totally still got it, and I desperately hope they decide to carry on.
Check out ‘Scent of the Obscene’ right here: