|Review: Sigh - In Somniphobia|
Label: Candlelight Records
Year released: 2012
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: April 9, 2012
Reviewed by: MetalMike
If you like your Black Metal served the traditional way, with raspy vocals, blast beats and tremolo riffing, you should stop reading now. Still with me? OK, to say Japan's Sigh is unconventional is like saying the sun is hot. Black Metal is certainly the foundation with Mirai Kawashima's and Dr. Mikannibal's evil voices the lone unifying element on the band's latest album, In Somniphobia. Having never heard Sigh prior to this album I was keen to hear what had earned them their reputation for non-conformity, and after the first few songs, I was pleasantly surprised. "Purgatorium" is melodic and thrashy and the violin and harp work surprisingly well. "The Transfiguration Fear" is in the same vein, but this time Sigh employs keyboards and vocal choruses resulting in something that sounds like the Black Metal bonus track from a Sergio Leone soundtrack. Even the saxophone solo, an instrument I normally loathe, was tolerable. If all this sounds weird, rest assured the album only gets weirder from here. Hammond organs, Middle Eastern, Japanese and Spanish melodies, sound effects of old-time radio signals, synthesizers, bongos, accordions and Jazz-influenced torch song saxophones all parade through In Somniphobia. There's nothing remotely like traditional Black Metal until the blast beats on "Amongst the Phantoms of Abandoned Tumbrils."
On the one hand, kudos to Sigh for not sounding like anyone else. In Somniphobia is undoubtedly complex yet melodic at the same time. On the other hand, there is far too much happening and the album completely loses focus for long stretches. Much of it is like trying to sit through a Mr. Bungle album. I like parts of In Somniphobia, notably the first three songs, but just because a band puts a lot of unusual instruments and influences in a song doesn't mean it is any good. That assertion is proved by much of In Somniphobia. Caveat emptor.
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