Heard It Yet?: SikTh – The Trees Are Dead and Dried Out, Wait for Something Wild

Artist: SikTh
Album: The Trees Are Dead and Dried Out, Wait for Something Wild
Label: Unparalleled
Released: 2003

When I first heard this album round a friends house, he warned me to prepare myself for one of oddest things I was about to listen to. Back then a lot of my music taste was pretty tame, and when opening track ‘Scent of the Obscene’ began I was absolutely overwhelmed, and if I’m honest somewhat terrified.

What sounded like a man with a chicken’s vocal chords squawked down the microphone, whilst bloodthirsty guitar hooks were bouncing all over the place like an undiagnosed ADD child. For the first time in a very long while I was overwhelmed by the music. I didn’t know what to say after hearing it, and felt confused and exhausted.

But most importantly I was intrigued. I took their name, went out and immediately brought the album and listened to it non stop, in an attempt to understand it. It seems funny to look back on that day, especially considering how my music palette has changed so dramatically in such a short time.

SikTh are, or were, if the rumors of their permanent split are true, a thrilling six piece from the UK which uniquely featured two vocalists, Mikee Goodman, practically an embodiment of an epileptic fit, and Justin Hill who balanced out Goodman’s bizarre shrieking with a deep roar and soaring vocals. Combined, the two created a completely obscure sound that was completely fresh and frantic.

The two vocalists have now left the band after the release of their second album, and no-one really knows if the group are set to continue.

Despite being a pretty heavy album, there are moments of respite where the insanity is toned down. The two parts of Emerson are simple piano pieces that help to tone down the pace of the album. However, even these are infused with a sense of bafflement, with the added sounds of children’s laughter convincing enough to make you look out for the little shits.

Furthermore, the band aren’t afraid to casually stroll into metal ballad territory, with the spectacular ‘Peep Show’ which tears itself at the seams with emotion. I appreciate that the term ‘metal ballad’ could sound like a terrible idea, but the song is such an anthem that comes completely out of the blue amongst the madcap ideas of the rest of the album.

Live, the band were an incredible experience, usually ending in people tearing the shit out of eachother.

They say variety is the spice of life, and this album is certainly one to prove that theory. The tail end of the album includes a delightful song relishing the existence of a girl who’s legs are open longer than a 24 hour garage (lyrics to highlight would include ‘Everybody here comes in your face/You’re wanting everybody looking on in your direction/Have you looked at your skin complexion/How could I ever put my dick in you?’) and also includes a deeply disconcerting cover of ‘Tupelo’, originally a Nick Cave tune.

The album closes with Mikee summing up the themes of the album (the damaging of the environment being a focus) by reading a poem in his own delightful way. Shrills and squeaks, roars and pants all come from one man who must be breathing the same oxygen as Mike Patton with his unlimited range of cartoon sound effects which leaves you questioning just what you’ve experienced.

The band’s second album is slightly easier to get into, but definitely takes a step back from the sheer insanity of the debut.

There hasn’t been very many albums that have left such a remarkable impression on me upon continued listening, but this genuinely is a recording that gets more interesting with every listen, as you slowly begin to settle into the strange, strange world of SikTh.

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