Sigh
In Somniphobia

Remember that jaw-dropping moment in your childhood when you saw ex-Green Ranger Tommy Oliver coming back stronger than ever as the badass White Ranger in Season 2 of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers? Yeah, Sigh’s upcoming album certainly did an excellent job at evoking that long-forgotten feeling of inane joy.

As always, the Japanese are a race of people who never fail to continuously innovate and be at the forefronts of something new. Widely considered to be Japan’s first successful raw black metal act, Sigh has had its fair share of Venom and Mayhem days back in the era of black metal proliferation circa early 1990s. Since 1997’s Ghastly Funeral Theatre EP however, the band started crafting their now-iconic brand of experimental black metal that just seems to get more and more un-metal over the years, and the result? I don’t know… eclectic metal? Symphonic blackened folk metal? Post-avant-jazz with black metal shrieks?

Call it what you will, set forums ablaze with heated genre debates, and perhaps kill a couple of ‘poseurs’ along the way if you feel vehemently elitist enough. Whatever you do, Sigh probably doesn’t care so long as they’re having fun with their sonic experiments. From a snake-charming motif in the track “Far Beneath The In-Between” to the alluring Dr. Mikannibal’s sexy saxophone solos, the jazz instruments—the piano and saxophone—and standard rock instruments—synthesizers, drums and electric guitars—are put to memorable use by Sigh.

It is also good to know that the band haven’t abandoned their symphonic past. Epic strings and cleanly-sung passages by a choir can be heard accompanying the standard rock instruments throughout. For example, check out that Batman-esque orchestral moment at the 1/6 mark of the track “Amongst The Phantoms Of Abandoned Tumbrils”, and the ‘oooh-oooh-ooooooh’ motif sung by the choir throughout in the track “The Transfiguration Fear Lucid Nightmares” (this song even has whistling towards its end, the extent to which Mirai would go to juice every instrument of its various techniques…).

As entertaining and fresh as I found this record to be, though, there is a little shortfall—Mirai’s shrieks sound jarring against the backdrop of predominantly folk-flavored melodies. Somehow, black metal shrieks cut through layers of cleanly-produced folk tunes like a grim and frosty battleaxe through melted mozzarella cheese-topped goblin steak. While I’m not sure if he intends for Sigh to move towards the folk metal direction, most traditional folk metal utilize gruff, shouted vocals that just seem to go really well with folk-flavored melodies. Mirai might want to take this point into consideration.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Dane Prokofiev
February 27th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    fuck all music reviews that don’t start off with a Power Rangers anecdote, as far as I’m concerned.

    Sigh are so awesome.


  2. Commented by: Clauricaune

    Yeah, starting a review of a black metal album with a Power Rangers reference is just… LOL!!!

    But I do agree with the rest of the review. This is Sigh, so you know it’s good if not excellent quality stuff.


  3. Commented by: GW

    Power Rangers!?!? WTF. How lame can you possibly start out?


  4. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    no, reread my comment: I think this is a great intro to a review.


  5. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    this record, from the 2 songs i’ve heard, is just bloody nuts. totally insane. completely boundary shattering, just like everything they do.


  6. Commented by: Jeff

    Check their facebook page…apparently the good Dr, did her vocals nekkid…


  7. Commented by: May Bandcamp Albums | Fast 'n' Bulbous

    […] This Japanese avant-garde black metal band has always made confoundingly difficult listening albums, many of which continue to be rewarding to devoted listeners. In Somniphobia shows them just as inscrutible as ever. Like other albums, it may take me more than a year for it to fully register. So as far as how it fits in with the rest of their extensive discography, beats me! | Teeth Of The Divine […]


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