Sikth at KOKO, London – live review

Sikth's return to the fore is wonderful to witness.

(Image: © Will Ireland)

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Back in the early noughties, the Watford lads laid the ground for a new wave of progressive metal and helped to birth djent, but sadly split before the rest of the music scene caught up, and they never really reaped the rewards of pioneering a genre. The buzz around their reunion in 2013 was electric, and the fact that they can fill out London’s Koko proves that their heralded return was more than just a passing fad.

Tonight Sikth are playing their second album Death Of A Dead Day in full, but before they take us back to 2006 they open with the chugging breakdowns of Philistine Philosophies and the melodic bounce of The Aura from their new album The Future In Whose Eyes?. The new songs may not be the main event tonight, but the audience’s fervent reaction to them proves their worth.

Vocalist Mikee Goodman couldn’t look more noughties with his messy dreads and flared jeans, and he’s visibly ecstatic to be playing here tonight. He bounds across the stage like a kid on Christmas morning, hops onto the speakers and shows disbelief at how far Sikth have come: “We’ve never played this many songs before!” he laughs with a shake of his head.

Chemistry: vocalists Mikee Goodman and Joe Rosser. 

Chemistry: vocalists Mikee Goodman and Joe Rosser.  (Image credit: Will Ireland)

Sikth’s return could have been scuppered when second vocalist Justin Hill left the ranks in 2016, but Joe Rosser, who joined for The Future In Whose Eyes?, is a solid replacement – ably taking the lead for the rousing, melodic strains of In This Light, and frantically moshing when Mikee is at the fore. There’s clear chemistry between the two vocalists, their vocals complement each other well and they make a good team – bouncing in unison and grinning at each other.

Tonight is a reminder of Sikth’s pioneering status, and also a sign that the future is bright. Their old and new songs effortlessly balance technical flourishes and melodic chops, and take the songs to unknown and unexpected places without spiralling into shameless pomposity, while Goodman’s eccentric variety of vocal styles including spoken word give their songs an unusual edge. He flings himself into the audience at the end of the set and invites opening bands Press To Meco and Devil Sold His Soul onstage for a big group photo before saying in disbelief, “It really means a lot when you come back and see everyone.” Goodman’s excitement and disbelief is just as heartwarming as the fact that Sikth are finally back where they belong.

Hannah May Kilroy

Hannah May Kilroy has been writing about music professionally for over a decade, covering everything from extreme metal to country. She was deputy editor at Prog magazine for over five years, and previously worked on the editorial teams at Terrorizer and Kerrang!. She currently works as the production editor for The Art Newspaper, and also writes for the Guardian, Classic Rock and Metal Hammer.