Hey there! Welcome to the ninth episode of A Scene In Retrospect, the feature in which we at It Djents finally review some of the records which shaped the face of the progressive scene as we know it today. This time around, we have our PR/social media managers Inter and Valentin as well as our staff writer Jake talk about one of the most revered bands/albums in recent prog metal memory: SikTh and their seminal album Death of a Dead Day. Enjoy!
I’ve got into SikTh, long before djent was a thing, long before I was aware of the progressive music scene. When I was around 15, I fell in love with a band called Psykup, and after some months of addiction, I started searching for similar bands. Shortly after, I stumbled upon SikTh‘s The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait for Something Wild and loved it from the beginning. After I’ve spent some time with the album, SikTh released Death of a Dead Day, and wow. What a record.
The albums starts with “Bland Street Bloom”, which is still one of the best tracks modern prog metal has to offer. It also showcases in an impressive way why SikTh is such a standout band. The frantic and weird vocals in the verse team up with groovy but odd riffing, only to get replaced by one of catchiest refrains of all time. The writing, arrangement and production are vivid, exciting and challenging. SikTh definitely need some time to be appreciated, but it’s worth it. Their distinctiveness may deter some people in the beginning, but as soon as you spend some time with Death of a Dead Day, you’ll learn to love this band,.
This album shaped and influenced our modern prog metal landscape in an incomparable way, while SikTh still remain an insider tip. While their newest output, The Future In Whose Eyes?, doesn’t even come close to the magic of Death of a Dead Day, I’m happy that SikTh have a revival and are getting some more coverage. More and more people will dicsover the masterpiece which is DOADD.
Ever since I discovered progressive metal, I got in touch with a whole lot of bands and checked out about 95% of what most people consider the ‘pioneer bands’ of the genre…except for SikTh. Although I was very well aware of the band (their name literally pops up on a weekly basis), I never got around to listening to any of their music. So when I saw that Death of a Dead Day was on for the new episode of A Scene In Retrospect, I thought it would be the ideal opportunity for me to finally check out the band.
And damn, I’m more than happy that I finally did! The 54-minute-long record offers almost everything that I love about progressive metal: Technically challenging instrumentation (the guitar and drum work is insane while never being over the top), a raw organic production (suck it, AXE-FX!) and a singer (or rather, two) that perfectly switches between angry harsh vocals to hauntingly beautiful clean choruses. Each of the twelve songs is interesting in its own way, making Death Of A Dead Day a super fun journey from start to finish. SikTh truly managed to create a perfect mixture of mathcore-typical chaos combined with rather classical prog metal/rock elements that most likely helped pave the way for what we know as progressive metal today.
While listening to the album, I oftentimes caught myself thinking that I heard similar parts before on Periphery, Tesseract, Monuments […] songs, only to find out that SikTh released Death of a Dead Day years before most of these bands even put out an album. Looking at the album in retrospect in 2017, it became quite obvious to me how much of an impact SikTh must have had on the metal scene back in 2006. So please, don’t be a fool like me and check out this ground-breaking album as fast as possible if you haven’t yet; you won’t regret it.
I distinctly remember the first time I heard of this band. In an otherwise forgettable video from a YouTube channel that I have long since forgotten, a suggestion was made that I check out the this progressive metal band that called themselves SikTh. At the behest of this forgotten video, I did just that, and Death of a Dead Day is where I started. Going back and listening to the record for this feature, I am still impressed with how well this album is paced. It is a genuine journey. It’s like skydiving but you get pushed out of the plane on ‘2’ instead of ‘3’ like you agreed to in the first place. Then, free-falling and scrambling to find the parachute release, finding it, floating gently down and enjoying the view, only to have the chute break again. It’s exhilarating.
Death of a Dead Day manages to be extremely technical and yet remain catchy, or dare I say accessible. While that isn’t necessarily rare, it is uncommon that it’s executed with such polish and control. “Bland Street Bloom” opens the record with furious technicality, djent riffs, and a jarring vocal delivery that slides into a catchy, borderline anthemic chorus. As with any progressive metal song, there are multiple styles incorporated, and SikTh shows that they are master of many in the opening track. Ten years on, there’s still not much that sounds like this.
As a fan of groove, this album doesn’t leave me out in the cold. Amongst the mathy, technical riffs, there is a catchy beat to be found in nearly every song. The track “Part of the Friction” is built on a rock groove that gets my head bopping every time. It’s a track that I always enjoy getting to on my listens through this album. This one is followed up with the somber and pleading “Where Do We Fall?” that feels like it was ripped from the alt-rock charts of the early 2000’s. While some may think this song a bit of a black sheep, I think it’s an essential part of the mosaic that SikTh assembled. If I wanted to share this band and/or album with someone unfamiliar with them, would I start there? Probably not, but that’s not an indictment on the song.
Death of a Dead Day is a signature album that still sounds unique. The variety of styles present are finessed into an amalgam that is more Megazord than it is Frankenstein’s monster. Djent and progressive metal owe a lot to this band and this album.
And that’s it for yet another classic review as part of A Scene In Retrospect! What are your thoughts on Death of a Dead Day? Leave ’em in the comments! There’s a lot more records on our list for this feature, but if there’s any that you’d like to see covered here, please let us know. See you in a fortnight for more throwbacks! Until then, stay safe, and as always…
…thanks for reading!