Sikth Live In Glasgow

Prog metal trailblazers still able to impress

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There’s a lot riding on the second wave of Sikth’s comeback. The wacky prog metallers reconvened in 2014 after a break of around seven years, returning to the live scene with aplomb. In 2015, the sextet released the mini-album Opacities – Sikth’s chance to show the world how far they have come since their mesmerising 2003 debut record The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out, Wait For Something Wild.

It seems the fans are on board, with enough bodies flocking into Glasgow’s Classic Grand to stave off the bone-numbing December chill lurking outside. Milan’s Destrage warm them up in considerable style, juggling prog exploration with a dose of metalcore maelstrom – think a frisky Protest The Hero mixed with the groove of Every Time I Die. My Green Neighbour sums it all up, with snaking fretwork married to left-field blowouts.

Hacktivist don’t quite enjoy the same gung-ho impact, with the crowd unsure what to make of the quintet’s djent-meets-dual rap attack. The band’s self-titled track reveals their more redeeming features though, with Periphery-esque crunch and atmospheric hues linking arms nicely. They have the vitality too, with bassist Josh Gurner at one point climbing on a balcony railing, before being told by security to get down. Rock’n’roll doesn’t always come off, kids.

Headliners Sikth, however, don’t initiate any forlorn trips to the bar – instead, they rally through an expansive set littered with typically outlandish charm. Opener Flogging The Horses sets the tone nicely, with its runaway metal chops snake-charming the masses to the mosh pit. It’s Sikth’s innate ability to make the wildest runs and stormiest structures so infectious that sets them apart, and the reason they’re so adored. It’s crepuscular, yet phosphorescent and phantasmagorical too.

Dreadlocked singer Mikee Goodman laps up the adulation, juddering theatrically to the jolting rhythms like a cartoon criminal on an electric chair. It’s with their debut album material, though, that the gig truly shines. Scent Of The Obscene elicits fist-pumping hysteria in the Classic Grand, while Pussyfoot rails with machine-gun bass drum fire and kooky dual vocals from Goodman and sidekick Justin Hill.

There are little first-night-of-the-tour jitters. The group, ably anchored by powerhouse drummer Dan Foord, rarely let the pace slip. And Sikth have just about enough left for a rousing rendition of Bland Street Bloom to finish, a melee of prog metal majesty that shows why this band were trailblazers in the previous decade – and an act who still continue to evolve, progress and most definitely impress today.

A writer for Prog magazine since 2014, armed with a particular taste for the darker side of rock. The dayjob is local news, so writing about the music on the side keeps things exciting - especially when Chris is based in the wild norths of Scotland. Previous bylines include national newspapers and magazines.