SIKTH — The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait For Something Wild (review)

SIKTH — The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait For Something Wild album cover Album · 2003 · Metalcore Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
UMUR
"The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait for Something Wild" is the debut full-length studio album by UK, Watford based progressive metal act Sikth. The album was released through Gut Records in August 2003. Sikth was active from 2001 to 2008 and released two full-length studio albums in that period.

The music on the album is a highly energetic form of progressive metal with elements of all sorts of other music styles. Most notably mathcore, NU-metal, alternative metal and hardcore. Imagine how a combination of The Dillinger Escape Plan, System of a Down, Mr. Bungle, Devin Townsend, Protest the Hero and Shaolin Death Squad would sound like and you´re half way there. At their most melodic (like on "Peep Show") I´d even pull out The Mars Volta as a reference.

Sikth features two vocalists. I´m not completely sure who sings what, but there are several different vocal styles featured in the music. It often sounds like a group of mad men shouting, screaming, fast talking, hysterical, whining and occasionally singing more clean melodic type vocals. There is a girlish quality to the clean vocal delivery that´ll probably be a little off putting to some, but you can´t deny that the vocals are delivered with fierce conviction and great skill. The point is the vocals are most likely an aquired taste. The instrumental part of the music is played with militant precision but features a delightfully chaotic sound. The technical level of playing is incredibly high. Both guitarists play very challenging riffs and themes, the bassist is thankfully placed high in the mix and he plays some really busy stuff throughout and the drummer is a tech metal monster. Contantly changing rhythms and time signatures and constantly shifts between energetic aggressive sections and more melodic atmospheric ones. This is at the same time very challenging and very catchy music.

"The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait for Something Wild" is a self-produced affair (mixed by Colin Richardson) and it´s obvious the band are very skilled at this. The album features a very well sounding and powerful sound production, which provides the right space for all instruments and vocals in the soundscape. Another great asset is the album´s flow or in other words how the tracklist is put together. It´s an album full of surprises. Not only are the material really eclectic in nature, we´re also treated to great changes in mood and atmosphere throughout the album.

The first part of the album (the first seven tracks) are wild, energetic and chaotic in nature, with the occasional more melodic section thrown in, but when the eigth track "Tupelo" kicks in, it´s also the beginning of around 18 minutes of experimental, atmospheric music that is completely different from what came before it, yet somehow Sikth manage to make the transition in a seamless natural fashion. After being bombarded with technical playing and a very high energy level during the first part of the album, it´s initially a bit of a culture shock to be met with the atmospheric sound of "Tupelo", "Can't We All Dream?" and the short piano interlude "Emerson, Part 2". It´s perfect though and while the craziness continues on those tracks too with odd theatrical poetry recital and other types of obscure vocal artistery, that part of the album does work as a little breather, because when "How May I Help You?" kick in we´re back in high energy chaotic territory again. That continues until the closing track "When Will the Forest Speak...?", which brings us back into odd poetry recital territory.

At 60:34 minutes (and that´s excluding the Japanese bonus tracks), "The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait for Something Wild" is a long album, but because of the eclectic nature of the music and the great flow of the album, it´s not a minute too long. This is a progressive metal album in the most true sense of the word and when that amounts to a greatly adventurous, well played and well produced end product, as the case is here, a 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.
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