SIGH “Scenes from Hell”, 2010
(The End Records)
Anyone that has spent time in Asia will tell you that here’s an overwhelming busyness. This sense of urgency can definitely be heard in avant-garde Japanese black metal band, Sigh’s music, which punishes a listener with unrelenting violent brutality and then the next, one moment, and then the next, engages with Wagnerian symphonic compositions. The album is an aural workout as it often sounds like at least two records are battling it out but honestly, both sounds manage to work in unison.
The blastbeats and evil hobgoblin black metal vocals in “Prelude to the Oracle” are countered with a number of short orchestral bites. “L’art De Mourir” has a stronger classical lean where satan’s minions have a symphony orchestra that adds weight to the sheer metallic heaviness that rushes through. “Soul Grave” is deceptive in that it is at turtle pace if the drumming is ignored but it’s so difficult not to be engrossed with the song as a whole. An eerie effect is created through the narrated part at the start of the three-part opus, “Musica Tempora Belli”. The second part, “The Summer Funeral” has some near spoken and the sung parts move close to black metal opera with the slow moody classical violin aiding the audibility of the vocals. The third part “Musica Tempora Bella” starts out fast and metallic but this is broken with narration. The rollercoaster ride then continues with a surprising sax coming in and hinting at more unexpected twists will be in store for those who have gained admission.
My main complaint with this album is that at times the vocals could be a little clearer. When it’s all too easy to second-guess so many bands’ next chord progression, drumbeat or lyrical phrasing, SIGH come as a welcome relief. The bustle on this record will cause going back for more with the intent of scratching more than just under the surface because hidden treasure are still there to be excavated.
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