|Review: Sigh - Imaginary Sonicscape|
Label: Century Media
Year released: 2001
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: December 14, 2002
Reviewed by: Dakuroth
Sigh are a band I have been intending to check out for some time, and this, their most recent release, is my first purchase. I wasn't really sure what to expect here. All I knew is that the band are Japanese, were signed to Euronymous' Deathlike Silence label back in the early 90's, and these days are one of the more avantgarde bands on the fringe of the black metal scene. My first impression, solely from the cover art, was "Psychadelic!", and there is a definite flavour of that here. The best definition I can muster for Sigh's style of music is a fusion of 60's/70's rock and black metal (I say 60's/70's because everything arrives a decade late in Ireland so my cultural history may be askew :)). The riffing is very 'rock-and-roll', and very catchy - you'll be banging your head along in no time. Mirai's vocals are a black metal croak, which I find suits the music perfectly, bizarrely enough. Perhaps because you can 'tune him out' and he doesnn't obscure the riffing or the rhythms. Even weirder is the bands penchant for old keyboard instruments - Fender Rhodes pianos, minimoogs, Hammond organs - all turn up here and are handled (very competently) by Mirai, who also plays bass. Credit here to Shinichi (guitars) and Satoshi (drums) who both handle their instruments very well, without being too flashy - no blastbeats here! Shinichi in particular delivers a number of excellent and very well thought out solos which actually add to the songs.
There is a lot of variety here as well. "Corpsecry - Angelfall" begins according to the formula above and ends in a classical piece; "Scarlet Dream" has synths which adds an almost disco-like vibe (!), while "Nietzschean Conspiracy" is a strange (and not entirely successful) detour into lounge music. Then there is the remarkably poppy "Sunset Song", a little self-indulgent piano interlude, two more fine rock/metal songs before the ten minute epic "Slaughtergarden Suite", in five parts; each part has a different musical feel, and almost every genre imaginable is covered here. Then there is the excellent "Bring Back the Dead", before the album closes with "Requiem - Nostalgia", which starts like a cliched classical outro, before turning in an almost balladic song, complete with a classical tenor singing the chorus! This is definitely not an album one gets bored of easily. Lyrically, Mirai mainly sings songs about horror films, which is all good fun, but a couple of songs ("A Sunset Song" and "Requiem...") have a sorrowful, nostalgic feel which adds a lot more emotional depth to the record.
Really, this is an album I would recommend to anyone who like hearing bands push the envelope a little in terms of mixing genres and producing an interesting result. If in a few places it doesn't quite succeed, it's more than compensated for by some moments of absolute genius. One of the best albums I've heard in ages, and highly recommended.
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