Download 2014: Sikth

The techy heroes headline the fourth stage

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After making a very welcome comeback, Sikth storm deadlocked head first into the Red Bull stage to bring Saturday to a close.

There is a real and genuine excitement inside the tiny Redbull Stage tent before tonight’s headliners. Not only is there an unusually large number of people congregated inside the festival’s smallest arena but those in attendance are losing their shit every time a drum is tested or a guitar is tuned. Chants of “Best band at Download” start up every couple of minutes a good half an hour before Sikth take the stage.

So when the Brit, tech-metal pioneers do arrive the whole place goes seven shades of mental. With a crowd as pumped and partisan as this Sikth cannot fail. But hearing these rabid headfucking songs once again is enough to make you realise just why this band are so revered. Skies Of The Millennium Night sounds like an explosion in a Mike Patton factory, whilst Pussyfoot is a like a Japanese pop song possessed by a grindcore devil.

In a lot of ways Sikth are easier to digest in 2014 than they were upon their arrival at the turn of the millennium, the flurry of guitar spazzing and jazzy rhythms have become a staple of modern metal in their absence, but what all of the bands they have inspired lack is two frontmen of the quality of Mikee Goodman and Justin Hill who, somehow, trade vocal ticks and barks seemingly at random intervals yet still managing to create a coherent song.

They may not be playing a ‘classic’ album in its entirety, but on the Saturday of Download 2014 you can say that a hugely innovative, original and influential band returned to headline a stage at Donington… sit down Linkin Park, that band are called Sikth.

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.