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Sigh - In Somniphobia CD (album) cover

IN SOMNIPHOBIA

Sigh

Experimental/Post Metal


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J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Japan may not have the world's most renowned metal scene, but Tokyo's Sigh have gained a reputation as one of the most forward-thinking extreme metal bands on an international scope since their formation in 1990. The band's constantly changing sound and ability to consistently put forth unique albums has impressed avant-garde metal fans for two decades, and In Somniphobia is proof that these giants have no intention of slowing down. This is a weird, weird album that spans nearly every conceivable genre out there, and yet Sigh manages to deliver their sound with consistency and fluidity. Although In Somniphobia is probably too "out there" for your average extreme metal fan, anybody with a craving for forward-thinking and truly innovative metal music is bound to have an absolute blast with what these Japanese masters have conjured this time around.

In Somniphobia served as my introduction to Sigh's music, and although I have since investigated some of their earlier releases, I'm still awestruck by how eclectic this album is. I've really never heard anything like this before, and while some comparisons can be drawn to groups like Mr. Bungle or Unexpect, Sigh is a distinctly different band. The 'black metal' label that is usually used to describe the band is rather minimal, and instead In Somniphobia sounds like a blend of death metal, classical music, progressive rock, jazz fusion, funk, trip-hop, free jazz, pop, psychedelic rock, avant-garde, Arabic music, and just about anything else under the sun. Possibly the most surprising factor about In Somniphobia is that, in spite of its seemingly 'random' nature, Sigh manages to blend all of these vastly different sounds into a cohesive and logical sound - somehow the band makes all of these genres sound as if they were 'meant' to be blended together, and this is unquestionably In Somniphobia's greatest strength.

Take a listen to the twisted, brutal-take-on-lounge-jazz of "Amnesia", for instance. Though most sane people would agree that lounge jazz and death metal don't belong within 100 feet of each other, Sigh begs to differ, and creates a unique concoction of these two vastly different styles - and, most of all, it works exceptionally well. Keep in mind, however, that this is just one out of eleven tracks. Before this album is over, you'll be treated with a strange neo-classical extreme metal sound in "Purgatorium", a Latin jazz rhythm section from hell in "The Transfiguration Fear Lucid Nightmares", a disturbed carnival music opus in the form of "Far Beneath the In-Between", as well as just about anything else the most perverted parts of your brain desire. This is a demanding, disturbed, and extremely challenging record, but Sigh manages to convey their avant-garde sound in a way that still manages to be fun for the open-minded listener.

Although the hour-plus playing time can make for a rather exhausting listen and the unpolished production doesn't quite fit the music in my opinion, these are minor complaints when we're talking about an album that's this damn good. As eclectic and flat-out weird as In Somniphobia may be, Sigh manages to make their one-of-a-kind sound come across as coherent and fluid - something like this can rarely be said about most bands that take a musical approach as decidedly avant-garde as Sigh's. This is a simply spectacular album, and 4 stars is the very least I can give out in this case. Fans of Sigh and avant-garde metal in general owe it to themselves to hear this magnificent opus.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#638067)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "In Somniphobia" is the 9th full-length studio album by Japanese avant garde/progressive extreme metal act Sigh. The album was released through Candlelight Records in March 2012.

The music on "In Somniphobia" offers up pretty much what you expect from a Sigh album. The unexpected! The band have long journeyed the outer limits of avant garde/progressive extreme metal and listening to "In Somniphobia" it quickly becomes apparant that the adventurous journey is far from over. These guys are still so far out in space that itīs doubtful theyīll ever return to planet earth. While the basis in the music is as always a raw type blackened thrash/heavy metal, thatīs only the bottom of a multilayered soundscape pyramid. Classical music, spaghetti western- and B-horror movie soundtrack music, jazz, blues, progressive rock, avant garde and all sorts of other influences can be heard throughout the album.

As an example take the track "The Transfiguration Fear". How the hell the band manage to incorporate a spaghetti western theme, female choirs, handclaps, a saxophone solo, galloping heavy metal rythms, raspy black metal type vocals and all sorts of other oddities to the track and make it sound like the easiest and most seamless thing in the world is beyond me and just one of the things on this album that proves how greatly skilled Sigh are as composers. And that is just one track out of 11. Iīll stop here but you get the picture on how eclectic the music is.

The musicianship is generally on a very high level and the sound production is well sounding and suits the music perfectly. So "In Somniphobia" is through and through a quality release and fans of avant garde/progressive extreme metal should find lots to like here. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#928295)
Posted Monday, March 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Sigh's crazed In Somniphobia seems to be the result of someone in the band saying "Hey, gang, let's see how many different genres of music we can transform into sounding like black metal as we possibly can on one album", and the rest of the group pulling out all the stops in response to the challenge. How many can you count? I hear classical flourishes (though no orchestra - Sigh are their own orchestra), upbeat J-rock, and a plethora of other musical styles buried deep within the buzzing guitars and eccentric vocals of the band. Cementing their claim to be black metal's answer to Mr. Bungle, Sigh are the sort of band where you just want to step back and let them do their thing, because they're so unpredictable you could lose a finger if you get too close to the machinery.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#1031954)
Posted Wednesday, September 11, 2013 | Review Permalink

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