There's a good chance you've haven't heard SikTh's brand of highly technical, forward-thinking noisecore — even though the British six-piece has released a pair of EPs, Let the Transmitting Begin ... and How May I Help You, as well as a proper full-length, 2003's The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait for Something Wild. That's because while SikTh's been around for more than four years, they've yet to release an album Stateside. Of course that's all about to change.
SikTh will release Death of a Dead Day in either January or February through Bieler Bros. Records; the band signed with the label, home to Nonpoint and Skindred, earlier this year. The album's in the mixing phase at this point, according to guitarist and pianist Dan Weller.
"Within the next fortnight, we should be done," he said. "It's been a long process. We stayed away from putting an album out in the States until we knew we'd have someone in the States who was worth working with and could support us."
SikTh — Weller, dual vocalists Mikee W. Goodman and Justin Hill, bassist James Leach, guitarist Pin and drummer Dan "Loord" Foord — sound like the Dillinger Escape Plan on fire. Or at least their earlier stuff sounded that way. It was almost comically chaotic.
"For me, Trees was quite gimmicky and had a jokey feel and a bit of a humorous edge," Weller explained. "I think that left a lot of people feeling, you know, 'Are they taking a piss? Are they winding us up? What are they trying to do here?' That's not the impression we wanted to put across. So we wanted to take a more mature, deadly serious approach this time. We're not playing around."
The end result is Death, which Weller says still has its melodic moments, but also houses huge, memorable riffs and complicated structures. "It grooves, too," he said. "Our goal is to make an album that can be put up there with the best metal albums made in the past 20 years. That's all we're doing this for. We're not writing our music to be second best. We want people to aspire to be as good as this and, although that sounds arrogant, we're totally approaching it from the angle that there isn't enough innovation going on in our genre. We're determined to show that there's still things that can be done, rhythmically and with melody, without sounding like someone else."
Weller said the band hasn't agreed on which of the album's 11 tracks will serve as the first single, but considers "Bland Street Bloom," "Flogging the Horses" and "Another Sinking Ship" to be strong contenders.
SikTh are looking forward to making a fresh start with Death more than anything else, Weller said. "When we first came out in the U.K., there was a hype, a buzz and a kind of excitement around the band. And a shock factor. So when you play for a while in a country, people become familiar with you, and you lose that, leaving you to just create music that's hopefully great. What's exciting about starting in the States is we're relatively unknown, so we have that potential to start fresh and shock people and blow people away.
"We see this record as a turning point for this style that we're playing. And maybe I'm far too confident and deluded, but we want this to be something where people go, 'Sh--, what's that? That is great,' " he continued. "I do believe there's a huge sort of metal fraternity out there who're satisfied by a lot of bands but are still not getting what they want. I don't want to be the arrogant pr--- who says we're going to give everybody what they really want, because we're probably not, I just think we're encapsulating so many things that so many bands don't risk encapsulating and I hope we get noticed for that. And if we don't, tough sh-- — we tried."
The rest of the week's metal news:
Cannibal Corpse will enter Mana Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida, October 7 to start recording their 10th LP; Erik Rutan (the Absence, Soilent Green) will produce. "We are doing everything we can to make sure it's the heaviest, most brutal one we've ever made," reads a post on the band's Web site. "We have 11 songs completed and if possible we'd like to write one or two more before entering the studio." ... Anthrax bassist Frankie Bello hosts MTV2's "Headbangers Ball" this Saturday. Throwdown will be this week's in-studio guests. ... Gwar have tapped DevilDriver, A Dozen Furies and Mensrea as the openers for their North American tour. The trek kicks off October 7 in Sayreville, New Jersey, and runs through November 11 in Seattle. ... New York hardcore metal band Cipher are looking for a new bassist to replace Mark Dollar, who had been in the band a little over a year but recently quit to pursue other ventures. Interested candidates should be at least 18 years old and be able to practice regularly in Western Long Island near Queens. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. ... Brazilian-American metal kingpins Soulfly and Orange County hardcore outfit Throwdown will tour together starting in October 12 in Fort Worth, Texas. Dates run through November 9 in Denver. ... That city's sardonic metalcore band Grace Gale will release their debut album, Few Easy Steps to Secure Heli-Camel Safety, on September 27. Tracks include "There's Nothing Honorable About This Discharge," "James Caan Make Yourself at Home" and "I Don't Know How to Put This ... But I'm Kind of a Big Deal." A video for the latter is available for viewing on BlackoutRecords.com. ...
The first of four teasers for Machine Head's "Elegies" DVD, which hits stores October 11, is available on the band's Web site. ... More than a few indie-rock acts on Matador Records have mocked heavy metal in the past, so it's kind of odd that one of the most rippin' new duos, Early Man, are now on the label. And they're no joke. Singer/guitarist Mike Conte and drummer Adam Bennati's first album, Closing In, comes out October 11 and sounds like a fierce hybrid of Blizzard of Ozz-era Ozzy and Master of Puppets-era Metallica. ... Dutch death dispatchers Severe Torture will release Fall of the Despised November 7 through Earache. Tracks include "Endless Strain of Cadavers," "Unconditional Annihilation," "Impulsive Mutilation" and "Dead From the Waist Up." ... French metal outfit Wormfood will release their next disc, called, um, France, through Code666 Records November 18. Carnival in Coal frontman Axel Wursthorn produced the effort, which the label describes as "a bizarre and grotesque view of modern French society, a melting pot of doom, thrash, death, gothic, punk, pop, classic, baroque, jazz and black humor." ... Los Angeles '80s death-rock/punk-metal band .45 Grave have pulled out of all dates on the Misfits tour, which runs through November 19 in Springfield, Virginia. They blamed the cancellations on "circumstances beyond their control." Madball used the same excuse for two shows they recently canceled, September 19 in Portland, Oregon, and September 20 in San Francisco, however they resumed the tour September 21 in Los Angeles. Madball dates are scheduled through October 1 in Buffalo, New York. ...
Mediaskare Records needs help naming its upcoming Slayer tribute record, which should surface early next year. The disc is set to include contributions from On Broken Wings, Scars of Tomorrow, Contra, the Esoteric, New Dead Radio, the Burning Room, Death by Stereo and others. More info can be found at www.myspace.com/atributetoslayer
Virginia's Arsis will release a three-song EP, A Diamond for Disease, October 25. The disc will feature "Roses on White Lace," "The Promise of Never" and the 13-minute title track. ... Members of Kiss, AC/DC, Motörhead, Anthrax, Dio, Judas Priest, Testament, Extreme, Whitesnake, Slaughter, Helmet, Dokken and others are banding together in tribute to Iron Maiden, literally comprising new bands for each of the 11 songs on Numbers From the Beast: An All-Star Salute to Iron Maiden, due October 11. For instance, "Wasted Years" features Dee Snider on vocals and Jason Bonham on drums, while "The Trooper" features Lemmy Kilmister on vocals, Suicidal Tendencies' Rocky George on guitar and AC/DC's Chris Slade on drums. Another pairing has Chris Jericho on vocals and Alice in Chains' Mike Inez on bass for "The Evil That Men Do." ...