Live Review: SikTh w/ Devil Sold His Soul and Press To MECO | SWX, Bristol | 06/12/17

On Saturday the fourteenth of June 2014, something miraculous occurred; Sikth played Download Festival. Of course, it’s not really that unusual for a metal band to play Download. Yet, what made It so special was the fact that it was the group’s first show since 2007; a surprise performance by a band that was thought to be long extinct. Fast track a few years since that day and Sikth have returned to the live circuit full time, even releasing their first album in 11 years this summer, The Future In Who’s Eyes? In support of this album, the group have embarked on an extensive tour, bringing along Devil Sold His Soul and Press To MECO for the ride too.

Despite only forming in recent years, Press To MECO [9] have certainly gained themselves a status within the respective scene. Yet, going from sets such as this, it’s easy to see why. Whilst the DIY experimental rock genre is often perceived as somewhat reserved, the trio add a charming sense of adolescent inquisitiveness and wonder to their work. The group present a dense, yet delicate wall of noise containing a vicious level of fluidity. It’s a beautiful, welcoming set that ebbs and flows from genre to genre, picking inspirations from along the way to create an innovative, characteristic and diverse sound.

Yet, one of the most surprising elements of this set is the usage of vocals. Angelic harmonies clash and flirt with expansive dancing fretwork to create a sound that’s both approachable and appealing to those heavily accustomed with experimental alternative music. If you’re still unfamiliar with this act, you best change that immediately; going from sets this like, this band’s career is going to explode in the coming year.

When a band touch stage to the soundtrack of the sci-fi masterpiece that is Interstellar, you know it’s either going to be an epic or pompous affair. Luckily, scene legends Devil Sold His Soul [9] don’t disappoint and live up to the high expectations such an intro would suggest. The now six piece deliver a storming assault of a set that fully presents the technical emotional prowess found within their recorded material. Considering the current year marks the tenth anniversary of their landmark debut, A Fragile Hope; a healthy dosage of material from the record is performed tonight. Tracks such as ‘Awaiting The Flood’ and ‘The Coroner’ are just as emotionally impactful as where when they premiered all those years back, and the group fully do these incredible tracks the justice they deserve.

Yet, one of the most drawing elements of this set is the duelling vocalist mechanic. The usage of over laying and contrasting vocals reanimates these classics in ways that are unprecedented and unforeseen. Yet, ‘Time’ see’s the group showcase their more ambient post-rock influences in ways that are spellbindingly dazzling and set closer ‘End Of Days’ proves to be towering triumph that fully resonates the sheer power and impactful majesty of this band. In all, it’s an emotional blitzkrieg of a set that highlights the longevity that the group possess.

Whilst this respective tour has been primarily marketed as the one to promote The Future In Who’s Eyes? once Sikth [9] launch into their set with ‘Philistine Philosophies’, it quickly becomes evident that tonight’s a celebration of their illustrious career. From here, the group bounce from material from differing eras; from their most recent album to tracks from their 2003 debut, The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out. Despite the many years between these tracks, the differing material blends and interplays perfectly, showcasing their granulating evolution and how they haven’t lost a shred of integrity despite the years.

The ever classic ‘Pussyfoot’ incites pure primal chaos within the crowd, and it’s times like these within the set where Mikee Goodman’s instantly distinguishable vocal talents come into full effect. From the shrieking highs to the plummeting gutturals, Goodman’s vocals remain fully uncompromised despite the years and still remain a vital role within this act. Combined with the more conventional vocal styles of co-frontman Joe Rosse, the end result is a jarring yet alluring and fresh contrast in vocals that emphasises the wild nature of the group. However, this element only becomes more profound as the set progresses, with fan favourites such as ‘Bland Street Bloom’, and ‘Summer Rain’ fully showcasing the group’s innovative technical abilities whilst proving themselves to the undeniable leaders of a genre and movement they originally spearheaded.

As the wind set winds to a close with deeper cuts from their discography, the group revel in which they do the best; creating a multi-layered musical experience that’s pure euphonic bombardment. Closing with the 2006 classic, ‘As The Earth Spins Round’, the group cap off a phenomenal night that’s a near perfect celebration of contemporary experimental music.


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