|Review: Sigh - Hangman's Hymn|
Label: The End Records
Year released: 2007
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
Review online: July 29, 2007
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
There seems to be a commonly theme running through a lot recently released albums by some of the big names in extreme metal of late. The likes of Entombed, Rotting Christ and now Sigh have journeyed the realms of various different musical styles throughout their career, before deciding they were better off where they began, and revisiting their roots with such vicious bile it removes the face of those who chortled at the mention of their names a few years back, mashes it into a smooth paste and creates a fine foie gras from it, before serving it back them on a charred silver platter with a piece of smouldering parsley.
Sigh have done some excellent, but thoroughly weird shit since their first couple of black metal releases, ranging from psychedelia to classic 70's rock – all of which have had various different responses from the bands ever changing fan base. Personally, I've always stuck with them simply due to the fact you never knew what to expect with each release, whilst being kept firmly in the comfort zone of the fact that you just knew it'd have some amazing duelling Maiden-esque guitars and mind-bending metal running through it at least somewhere along the line. On 'Hangman's Hymn', although there is still the aftertaste of such oddball musical behaviour which ran through their last few releases like the veins of a fine cheese, here we see Sigh with much stronger metal influences than they've had for quite some time (although their album previous to this, 'Gallows Gallery', hinted at this style reversal, I didn't rate that album quite so highly due to the fucked up production which I just couldn't get my head around), with a vibe more akin to their early releases with almost completely blackened style vocals throughout, the symphonic elements similar to a steroid crunching Emperor pushed further to the forefront than they've ever been before and twin guitar leads ripping new assholes left, right and centre. Blast beats, huge amounts of dynamism and an unruly sideway glance at the world of classic metal is the dish of the day here, and my, does it rule.
Sigh are a completely unique band. There really is no other like them, and for those who'd sampled their past few albums without much of a positive response will be sure to change their mind upon listening to this album. Sigh haven't sounded so hungry, angry or most importantly - vital for a good few years, and all this whilst managing to bulk up their symphonic elements to occasionally Bal-Sagoth like arenas of pomp and fortitude. Which is where 'Hangman's Hymn' truly shines, laying itself effortless between being a true feast for the classically trained pitch perfect muso and casual metal-head alike.
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