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Sigh - Imaginary Sonicscape CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.29 | 156 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Sigh, having solidified their place as one of the best Japanese black metal bands with their early releases, went for a more experimental bent in their later albums, exploring other genres and methods of composition in the process of trying to join the techniques of metal with the evocative possibility of music as a whole. Their sound has always been intriguing, and anyone interested in music that is barely traditional would enjoy Imaginary Sonicscape, a disk that features some of the most polish of their albums.

Any album which begins with a Minimoog solo and ends with a distorted version of the Minute Waltz is bound to be intriguing, and the sounds between beginning and end are quite excellent. Shinichi is one of the better non-prog guitarists, having little need to shred to prove his talent; his tone on both riffs and solos are brilliant and nostalgic, many of them inspired by the chunky Iron Maiden riffs of old. And while Mirai's howled vocals are intriguing and his bass lines traditional, it is clear that he is in his element surrounded by synthesizers of all kinds - the album credits lists almost every instrument he plays, among them a vocorder, Fender Rhodes piano, Hammond Organ, the aforementioned Minimoog, and many, many others. The way these are implemented over the classic metal sound is also quite brilliant - they are used less to show off Mirai's playing talent and more to show off his compositional skills, as many of the arrangements use the instruments to their full potential. Nieztchean Conspiracy uses absolutely no guitar or bass, and features some quite real-sounding synth strings and sax that is layered to create a neo-noir soundscape, one that is made only more convincing during the organ solo. The album features many songs that sound quite little like metal in the traditional definition, but are nonetheless excellent. The opening of Sunset Song is an oddly happy riff considering some of the twists that the song takes; Impromptu(Allegro Maestoso), is a brooding cadenza which leads right into Return to the Chaos, a piece that will stand out to fans of darker grooves - the alternating organ and Moog solos propel a catchy, slightly dissonant riff near the end beyond the stratosphere. And Requiem - Nostalgia is both surprising and satisfying, featuring a dynamic, fully-realized orchestral introduction the male operatic vocal chorus, and synth and orchestral textures playing an equal role with the crunchy tone of the guitars. And the album's epic, 10-minute Slaughterguarden Suite is unpredictable throughout, from the earliest synthesizer-only parts to the guitar and keyboard solos later in the piece. The piece is a proving ground between studio experimentation (including some psychedelic juxtaposition) and long form composition, and sustains a mood throughout that is at once dark and happy about it - abstractly conveying the mindset of a cold-hearted killer.

Those looking for music that toes the line between conventional song structures and long-form composition should definitely acquire this disc. The great thing about Sigh is their ability and desire to modify their sound between releases, and while elements are shared between this disk and the others in the band's discography, the chief focus of each album seems to be different. Imaginary Sonicscape is their proggiest album, with the most vintage synth textures and the most classic-rock riffs, but all of their albums take the basic aesthetic elements of metal and run to the borders of genre with them; taking that journey with Sigh is worth the time.

morpheusdraven | 5/5 |


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