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LVB
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:26 am
Posts: 172
PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2020 8:57 pm 
 

Going way back to my journey listening to Black Metal back in 2002 or around that time, I was fed the notion there was a right way to play orthodox Black Metal, and that too much keyboards were awful, and to avoided. What's interesting about Sigh's first album, Scorn Defeat, is that is generally accepted as a second wave Black Metal release, but it's actually loaded with progressive tendencies that were mostly absent from 2nd Wave band such as Darkthrone, Emperor, Burzum, Immortal, Mayhem. Scorn Defeat had so much dynamic tempo variety, and keyboard - piano interludes. Sigh really were a Prog/Black Metal band from the outset. I remember those elitist days when that was considered a heresy, and in my younger days, I responded to orthodoxy.

To this day I have only heard Scorn Defeat, Hail Horror Hail, and Imaginary Sonicscape. It's the latter album that brings this topic up. It's absolutely amazing! But at the same time I feel that it's difficult to even call this a metal album as the imagery and the music itself is a fusion of 70s prog and hard rock/metal. Being a fan of prog myself, I see Sigh, in this context, going beyond Metal in a way that only very talented musicians can go.

So I guess the point of this is to ask where Sigh stand in the land of Metal fandom? Are they more positioned to be loved my Prog fans, or does their Black Metal roots lend the a v.i.p. pass into hallowed halls of Metal? I mean, they are super interesting, but when they released Imaginary Sonicscape, they seemed to be 'above' Metal. And what should I buy next? :)

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Wombface
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 3:28 pm
Posts: 308
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2020 9:33 pm 
 

All the albums that you mentionned are absolutely top notch. Sigh used to be my absolute favorite band until they released Hangman's Hymn which is the biggest musical disappointment in my life. I understand what they were aiming for but I could just never digest it, no matter how many times I tried. Every album released after that never quite captured what I loved so much about Sigh from 1993-2005 which contains only pristine material in my opinion. I feel like the quality of the riffing and compositions has taken a hit since those days. I still give every Sigh album a chance and deservingly so but I sure do miss Shinichi and his contributions. You should definitely go for Infidel Art now. You're gonna love that one for sure.
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HeavenDuff
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:35 pm
Posts: 1736
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:28 pm 
 

LVB wrote:
Going way back to my journey listening to Black Metal back in 2002 or around that time, I was fed the notion there was a right way to play orthodox Black Metal, and that too much keyboards were awful, and to avoided. What's interesting about Sigh's first album, Scorn Defeat, is that is generally accepted as a second wave Black Metal release, but it's actually loaded with progressive tendencies that were mostly absent from 2nd Wave band such as Darkthrone, Emperor, Burzum, Immortal, Mayhem. Scorn Defeat had so much dynamic tempo variety, and keyboard - piano interludes. Sigh really were a Prog/Black Metal band from the outset. I remember those elitist days when that was considered a heresy, and in my younger days, I responded to orthodoxy.

To this day I have only heard Scorn Defeat, Hail Horror Hail, and Imaginary Sonicscape. It's the latter album that brings this topic up. It's absolutely amazing! But at the same time I feel that it's difficult to even call this a metal album as the imagery and the music itself is a fusion of 70s prog and hard rock/metal. Being a fan of prog myself, I see Sigh, in this context, going beyond Metal in a way that only very talented musicians can go.

So I guess the point of this is to ask where Sigh stand in the land of Metal fandom? Are they more positioned to be loved my Prog fans, or does their Black Metal roots lend the a v.i.p. pass into hallowed halls of Metal? I mean, they are super interesting, but when they released Imaginary Sonicscape, they seemed to be 'above' Metal. And what should I buy next? :)


Black metal was definitely a more conservative genre for quite a while. There are still some people who are extremely orthodox within the genre, but I tend to disagree with the statement that keyboards were all together frowned upon during the peak years of 2nd wave black metal, especially if you take into consideration the fact that bands like Emperor managed to be considered true and classic black metal from the get got. However, you are right when saying that it was harder to be recognized as true black metal when using keyboards than if you were not. I don't know where and how people actually drew the line on this and some keyboard using bands weirdly managed to be well-received while others didn't.

I just assume that Sigh was black metal enough in it's roots, espcially in the early days, to manage to make it within the scene. However, I'm not knowledgeable enough on how black metal evolved in the 90's in Japan to really understand how Sigh came to be so succesful, at least in the early years.

As for Imaginary Sonicscape and the success it got, I think Sigh was well-established as an avant-garde metal band at that point. Their fanbase was not expecting orthodox black metal at that point, especially not following Hail Horror Hail and Scenario IV. It's true however that it was the least metal album of their at this point (if that even means anything), but I guess (again, I was not around a metalhead at the time it came out so I wouldn't really know) it was just that good that it didn't matter what genre it was to the fans.

From this point onward, Sigh were basically that band that was so consistantly good and so eclectic, but still firmly within the "extreme" metal umbrella genre that it kept a pretty dedicated fanbase.

As for albums you should definitely listen to by Sigh, I strongly recommand that you look into In Somniphobia. It's, in my opinion, their best and most eclectic album of the 2010's. Afterward you should definitely give Hangman's Hymn a good listen. It's aggressive, very thrashy, heavy and it has this weird "demonic circus" vibe to it that I love so much. Scenes from Hell is also worth it. These three records also make a nice throwback to the early days of the band in their use of japanesse mythology and spirituality to create a narrative that is both strongly felt in the lyrics and in the music/general atmosphere.

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true_death
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:47 pm
Posts: 2075
PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2020 11:21 pm 
 

I'm not sure if this is controversial or not, but my favorite Sigh album is Gallows Gallery. Such a unique, beautiful, and insanely fucking catchy album - seriously some of the most infectious metal I've ever heard. Really great songwriting, love how tight and concise everything is with no fat to speak of. Vocal performance is certainly different but I think it works well for what they're going for on there.

Other than that, I also own Infidel Art, which I love - great black metal, Hail Horror Hail which I bought for "Curse of Izanagi" alone so needless to say, I was "a little" shocked by how absolutely fucking bonkers the rest of the CD turned out to be, but regardless I also love it. I've also got Imaginary Sonicscape which I think is really unique and interesting mix of styles but it's soooo fucking long that I only listen to it every now and then. I've never heard anything else from them.
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Chaosmonger
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2006 5:59 pm
Posts: 1064
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:00 am 
 

Wombface wrote:
All the albums that you mentionned are absolutely top notch. Sigh used to be my absolute favorite band until they released Hangman's Hymn which is the biggest musical disappointment in my life. I understand what they were aiming for but I could just never digest it, no matter how many times I tried. Every album released after that never quite captured what I loved so much about Sigh from 1993-2005 which contains only pristine material in my opinion. I feel like the quality of the riffing and compositions has taken a hit since those days. I still give every Sigh album a chance and deservingly so but I sure do miss Shinichi and his contributions. You should definitely go for Infidel Art now. You're gonna love that one for sure.



agree with all this, though I think Infidel Art and Scenario IV are just 'pretty good.' But yeah, they lost something on Hangman's Hymn and haven't found it yet. I still remember the surprise reading all those glowing Hangman's Hymn reviews when it came out. And then In Somniphobia came out and people tried to say it was a follow-up to Imaginary Sonicscape which is just....perplexing! And so very wrong.

Imaginary Sonicscape is one of the best metal albums of all time (and it's very metal btw, even if it has other musical styles in there too). And Gallows Gallery is insanely underrated once you get past the change in vocals!

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Wombface
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 3:28 pm
Posts: 308
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:25 am 
 

Couldn't agree more with everything you just said although I do think the riffing in Scenario IV is terrific and it is the most underrated album in Sigh's discography, along with Gallows Gallery. In Somniphobia has no business being compared to one of the greatest albums of all time.
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The Star of David and the Pentagram go hand in hand like black metal and a camera.

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Flugeldufel
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 4:41 pm
Posts: 253
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 2:33 am 
 

If I had to pick, I'd pick Infidel Art, but the Ep and Scorn Defeat are also awesome. IA has some super sad and beautiful keyboard parts. I want blasting ass shit as much as the next guy, but it's super cool. Sounds like a guy slowly accepting that he is going to hell.

Gallows Gallery is so good though. I have heard all the versions, but the original is the best. Yes it sounds fucked, but that's the point. If I want Sigh right now, it's this, otherwise I go back to the black metal stuff.

I like all their albums up to Hangman's, not including. Tried Scenes from Hell, it was cool, but very circus/CoF-ish. Haven't bothered after that.

Edit: And for the historians, Euro was trying to sign Sigh to DSP before he died.

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HeavenDuff
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:35 pm
Posts: 1736
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 2:59 am 
 

People saying that In Somniphobia is not a masterpiece are out of their mind.

Flugeldufel wrote:
Edit: And for the historians, Euro was trying to sign Sigh to DSP before he died.


Scorn Defeat was released on DSP actually.

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Substantia_Nigrae
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:42 am
Posts: 187
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:11 am 
 

Hangman's Hymn is way better than the unbearably annoying and uninspired Gallows Gallery.

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Sokaris
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 2:33 am
Posts: 1122
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 11:08 am 
 

Sigh is my favorite band and I could weigh in on their material for hours but my personal favorites are probably Imaginary Sonicscape, In Somniphobia and Hail Horror Hail. I think the "secret sauce" is that Mirai doesn't view their music as avant-garde and basically he's just someone with broad influences and understands other genres. So rather than just haphazard experimentation to just be weird he incorporates other elements while maintaining the general focus on still being a heavy metal band.

Also because I don't get to pull this card too much I'm pretty certain I have the largest Sigh collection in the world. They're the only band I really hunt for stuff from.
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Pitiless Wanderer
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:34 pm
Posts: 1028
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:41 pm 
 

I remember years and years ago buying Imaginary Sonicscape because it was so hyped. I liked it, but it wasn't spectacular for me, so I actually forgot about them and haven't listened to any album of theirs in, what, 15+ years? Has their sound changed at all?

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HeavenDuff
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:35 pm
Posts: 1736
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:49 pm 
 

Pitiless Wanderer wrote:
I remember years and years ago buying Imaginary Sonicscape because it was so hyped. I liked it, but it wasn't spectacular for me, so I actually forgot about them and haven't listened to any album of theirs in, what, 15+ years? Has their sound changed at all?


If you don't "get" Imaginary Sonicscape, we can't save you. All of their albums are very different, so whose to say if they changed or not. They are Sigh. They do what Sigh does.

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Gravetemplar
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:08 am
Posts: 1313
Location: Antarctica
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:59 pm 
 

I have to admit I could never get into Sigh. The few albums I've listened to left me unimpressed. I think it's mostly the weird experimentation, it feels forced and out of place. For example, Scenes from Hell is goofy. I don't understand the whole mariachi black metal gimmick in the first song and then the second one has this violin melody from a Russian mob film. I don't know, I really just don't dig any of it and it feels really cheap and weird just for the sake of being weird. The thin production and the weird effects don't help either. They try too hard to be eclectic.

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colin040
Metal freak

Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 6:00 pm
Posts: 5945
Location: Netherlands
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:08 pm 
 

The first two albums are great; the former is definitely the darkest of the two, as if I'm entering a Japanese graveyard - the second one's a bit more theatrical, but still very, very cool.

The other albums that I had heard are just too weird for me.

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HeavenDuff
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:35 pm
Posts: 1736
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:46 pm 
 

Gravetemplar wrote:
They try too hard to be eclectic.


I really don't think they do. Mirai plays a lot of various instruments and has an understanding of many different genres. What Sigh did on Imaginary Sonicscape reminds me of a metal Abbey Road. It's eclectic but it just makes sense, it works and it's a trip.

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Morn Of Solace
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2014 2:19 am
Posts: 1774
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:02 pm 
 

I love them, every single album with Shinichi is a little jewel. They peaked with Imaginary Soniscape and the way too forgotten Scenario iv Dead Dreams, but otherwise the only band i can think that mantained such and insane level of both creativity and consistency is Enslaved, and like them they are declining only in the last few years

They are insane and scatterbrained, but only a truly crazy mind can compose a song like Slaughtergarden Suite, thats why i don't think they are trying too hard. Trough the years I've showed their music to a bunch of people, for half of them was a carnivalish mess and for the other half was the coolest mess they ever heard. I'm firmly in the latter camp! :)

I'll also think that the firing of Shinichi was one of the biggest errors i've seen done by a band. The only guy that could replace him was Temis Osmond, and Oshima despite his staggering proficency just can't fill those shoes

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doomicus
Metalhead

Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 5:58 am
Posts: 493
Location: Kenfuckedy
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:22 pm 
 

Scorn Defeat is by far my favorite album of theirs and a stone cold classic black metal album. Infidel Art, Ghastly Funeral Theatre, and Hail Horror Hail are all great too, each one having a different vibe for me. After that my enjoyment of Sigh is quite hit and miss, and for the longest time I couldn't get into any other of their releases. Not too long ago however I picked up Heir to Despair on a whim and found myself really loving what was going on there and have been revisiting the albums I didn't really get into back in the day.

Mirai has always struck me as being very genuine in interviews and when he talks about his own works. I think that speaks to a lot of black metal fans even as the band has obviously grown away from that genre. Really never understood claims that Sigh is just trying to be strange for the sake of being strange--Mirai tackles music as if he is a composer rather than musician, and it shows in his arrangements and instrumentation found through out the Sigh discography. Plus, out of all the metal bands out there that claim to be Symphonic, Sigh is the only one that I know of that genuinely uses orchestration in a knowledgeable way, i.e. they don't just throw synths in the background for atmosphere and vapid aesthetic. I also really dig that Mirai and company just kind of do what they feel like doing on albums, even if I don't enjoy all of it. Sigh are definitely non-conformists in that regard.
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LVB
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:26 am
Posts: 172
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:28 pm 
 

I drink a lot and I forgot that I posted this. Not that I forgot that I typed it up, but I was interrupted (in real life) and I thought I forgot to send it. Funny! Thanks for all of the thoughtful replies. Yeah, what some people said is that Sigh isn't strange for the sake of being strange, but the various influences actually are incorporated into the music in ways that make sense. For as "weird" Imaginary Sonicscape is, I never feel like any section of the music seems out of place, or jarring, or just trying to be different. It really feels like Black Metal guys trying to make a great 70's Prog record and succeeding and making something totally their own at the same time.

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NuclearDrumsCrushedMyBrain
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:48 pm
Posts: 14
PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:23 am 
 

Imaginary Sonicscape is my favourite but I enjoyed In Somniphobia and Heir to Despair too. The only album of theirs I don't really care for at all is Graveward.

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Oheao
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:08 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:02 pm 
 

Ghastly Funeral Theatre is my favourite black metal album released by any band, It's probably one of only like 3 extreme metal albums, along with Crimson by Edge of Sanity and Ancient God of Evil by Unanimated that truly blew me away. Shingontachikawa is just such a great song, and the softer interludes/outro are also great. Scorn Defeat and Imaginary Sonicscape are great too, though.

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