Though SikTh had a hand in inspiring the wave of rhythm-first headbangers dominating the current technical metal landscape, none of the bands that rose up in their wake dared sound like them. The defining musical characteristic of the English outfit's early-aughts run was the twin-vocal attack of Justin Hill and Mikee Goodman, a storm of its own alongside the dazzling guitars of Dan Weller and Graham Pinney.
Things have changed with The Future in Whose Eyes?, the band's first full-length since ending their hiatus in 2014. Hill is no longer with the group, leaving Goodman lined up alongside former Aliases mic-wielder Joe Rosser. Rosser differs from Hill with his deeper voice and more forthright delivery, but he unfortunately forgoes his predecessor's soaring solo cleans, which brought welcome balance to the band's bursts of experimental madness.
Rosser fits well in tandem with Goodman who, despite shouldering a bigger share of the vocal workload, isn't his usual unnervingly erratic self. His vocal acrobatics have largely been shelved for a more consistent style, while his Gollum-like English growl pops up unexpectedly outside of its reserved place in his spoken word interludes. There are three separate ones this time around, though they're more placeholders than bits of critical commentary.
Musically, SikTh still display a remarkable level of technical skill — the crushing "Cracks of Light" and dynamic "Weavers of Woe" are certainly nothing to balk at. But for a band revered for their frenetic sonics, The Future in Whose Eyes? plays things a little safer than some expected. (Peaceville)