Album review

SikTh :
The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out,
Wait For Something Wild

Gut Records

SikTh : The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait For Something WildSince forming in March 2001, North London six-piece SikTh have been a busy bunch. The band have played Download, Uxfest, the Kerrang! Day Of Rock at Oxford Street's Virgin Megastore in London, and various other dates across the UK, including two headline tours, as well as recording a session for Radio One and releasing two EPs - Let The Transmitting Begin and How May I Help You? And all that before the release of this, their debut album.

SikTh are clearly an intense and focussed group, and The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out, Wait For Something Wild is a definite reflection of that. The album's first four tracks leave little opportunity to stop for breath, each one technically tight and well delivered, if not especially memorable.
    The pace is brought virtually to a halt by the haunting Emerson (Pt.1), a menacing yet reflective piano piece that you half expect to erupt into guitar-driven chaos, but which to its credit doesn't; instead acting almost as a speed bump for what is, as you'd expect, a largely hectic affair.
    Peep Show picks the pace up again, but is a more tuneful and varied track than those at the beginning of the album, and is possibly the best track here as a result.
    The energy peaks again with title track Wait For Something Wild, but its from hereon in that things get a bit strange.

Aside from Emerson (Pt.2) , which picks up where Pt.1 left off, the second half of The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out, Wait For Something Wild comes across as the soundtrack to a game of Warhammer. Tupelo sounds like a snippet from The Lost Boys, the end of Can't We All Dream? involves the repetition of the words "Can't We All Dream?" about twenty times in a Tom Waits-like vocal, and final track When Will The Forest Speak . . . ? is a spoken narrative based on a poem written by one of the group's vocalists, Mikee W Goodman.
    At first, it's these tracks that are what is most off-putting about the album, but after a few listens they become inescapably interesting and, in a way, redeem this from being what could have easily been just another run-of-the-mill thrash album.

Though at times a little self-indulgent, The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out, Wait For Something Wild is a notably brave and original effort for a debut album, and certainly marks SikTh out as a band to look out for . . .

:: Philip Goodfellow

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