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Sigh - Infidel Art CD (album) cover

INFIDEL ART

Sigh

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.62 | 12 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Infidel Art' - Sigh (7/10)

Sigh is undoubtedly one of the strangest, and most inventive metal bands I have come across. With each album, they reinvent themselves in unexpected ways, leaving no stone unturned as they make their way. Although Sigh is often labelled as a black metal group, they are probably best simply described as being 'avant-garde'; their music and approach always changes, but their ambition and originality stays consistent. The first album of theirs, 'Scorn Defeat' (along with a handful of demos) stuck to a thrashy black metal standard, content to mirror their European contemporaries with the same sort of raw riffs and primal delivery that the genre of black metal is best known for. 'Infidel Art' sees a big evolution for the band, and a step towards the more ambitious material they would be known for in the future.

'Infidel Art' sees the band teetering between the forward-thinking, and the formulaic. Sigh's work here can be roughly split into two sides; half of the time on the album is devoted to a sound of blackened thrash that only differs from the demo material by an improved sense of production. The speedy riffs and energy of the band is enjoyable and while not having the same grasp of atmosphere like contemporaries Mayhem or Emperor had with their black metal sound, it is fairly well performed and nicely heavy. It's the other dimension of sound on 'Infidel Art' that I find to be the more interesting though; even early on, Sigh were not afraid to test the boundaries of their style, and this would be taken to new heights with the addition of strange symphonic elements in Sigh's makeup. Sometimes, these symphonic sounds- which typically fall back on a keyboard emulating a string section or Japanese woodwind- are meant to compliment the existing black metal sound by whistling along with the guitars and drums, but Sigh hits their peak here when the symphonic elements take over. I was very surprised to hear the complexity of the orchestrations that Sigh composes and carries out here, especially at the end of the highlight 'Desolation', there is a long section with a dramatic cinematic flair that almost feels as if it could have been plucked from a Sergio Leone film. Sigh also works with some scarce clean vocals here on top of the more metal leaning rasps, and they are quite warm and well-done.

One thing that continues to irritate me about 'Infidel Art' however is its somewhat scattered feeling. There are great ideas everywhere here, and it has some remarkably interesting things to offer, but as a whole, it suffers from a bumpy consistency. When I hear such great things as 'Desolation' or other places where Sigh works their symphonic magic, it can get monotonous to hear them focusing on their metal element for a little too long here and there. Sigh typically has a feeling of randomness in their music, and I get that sense here as well; although each aspect has alot of individual potential, I sometimes ask myself if the way they try to combine the different sounds in the album is always effective, or rather contrived.

A very good album for Sigh, as well as an early sign of what could really be done with black metal once its musicians started looking outside the box.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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