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Experimental/Post Metal • Japan

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Sigh biography
SIGH is one of the first black metal bands from Japan, but they were not content to be simply that unique - they quickly began to innovate with symphonic keyboards and atmospherics before eventually progressing their blend of metal to psychedelic new dementions, pun intended. Sigh's humble goal of creating some of the most evocative horror music ever recorded could only be accomplished through progressive means, something they continue to do with each release. Originally, the band consisted of Mirai Kawashima(bass, keyboards, vocals), Satoshi Fujinami(guitars) and a little-known drummer named Kazuki who has ended his music career since leaving SIGH. After the first demo, "Desolation," a primitive tribute to earlier metal like Black Sabbath and Celtic Frost with some high ambition considering the quality of the four-track recording, Kazuki left the band and Mirai and Satoshi continued as a two-piece before hiring a full-time guitarist - Shinichi Ishikawa, so Satoshi could focus on drums. This is SIGH's current known lineup, although it is said to have recently hired a full-time bassist so that Mirai can concentrate on his virtuoso keyboard playing in the band, a strategy they adopted on their last tour. From their early demos (which feature a lot of material that has been re-recorded with more complex, rich arrangements than heard on their powerhouse black-metal originals), Sigh has continued to expand their ambition, drawing in the influences of numerous sources, from Ennio Morricone to John Zorn, all manner of jazz, classical and ambient innovation that they've successfully merged with their great blend of metal. It was clear from the band's first full-length that they had ideas for evocative, chilling sound compositions that included as many beautiful symphonic melodies as they did thrashing guitar riffs, and Mirai's evolving obsession with actual vintage synthesizers (not just their sound-alikes) has allowed the band to begin to write music as likely to give you an acid flashback as a nightmare.
As far as progressive fans are concerned, the point at which SIGH becomes most interesting is with the release of the "Ghastly Funeral Theatre" EP, a short concept album based around Japanese occultism and incorporating a heavy amount of folk melodies and acoustic passages into the twenty minute running time. This would be a mere predecessor to "Hail Horror Hail," a true psychedelic masterpiece that is really the first place Mirai Kawashima proves himself as...
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Buy SIGH Music

Imaginary SonicscapeImaginary Sonicscape
The End Records 2009
Audio CD$8.43
$5.49 (used)
Audio CD$10.14
$10.12 (used)
Hangman's HymnHangman's Hymn
The End Records 2007
Audio CD$36.01
$1.94 (used)
Gallows GalleryGallows Gallery
The End Records 2007
Audio CD$5.71
$4.77 (used)
In SomniphobiaIn Somniphobia
Audio CD$8.99
$9.96 (used)
Ghastly Funeral TheatreGhastly Funeral Theatre
Cacophonous Records 2013
Audio CD$99.99
$38.00 (used)
Scorn DefeatScorn Defeat
Imports 2014
Audio CD$10.52
$11.84 (used)
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SIGH discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

SIGH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.03 | 18 ratings
Scorn Defeat
3.57 | 16 ratings
Infidel Art
3.97 | 31 ratings
Hail Horror Hail
3.91 | 26 ratings
Scenario IV: Dread Dreams
4.33 | 106 ratings
Imaginary Sonicscape
3.89 | 32 ratings
Gallows Gallery
3.98 | 29 ratings
Hangman's Hymn - Musikalische Exequien
3.93 | 28 ratings
Scenes From Hell
3.95 | 50 ratings
In Somniphobia
3.94 | 12 ratings

SIGH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 3 ratings
The Eastern Force of Evil: Live 92' - 96'

SIGH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SIGH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SIGH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
2.05 | 2 ratings
3.00 | 1 ratings
Requiem For The Fools
3.00 | 1 ratings
Sigh / Kawir split 7
3.00 | 1 ratings
To Hell and Back
3.20 | 6 ratings
Ghastly Funeral Theatre
3.00 | 1 ratings
Sigh / Necrophagia split
3.00 | 1 ratings
Abigail / Sigh - Evilized Japan split
3.50 | 2 ratings
A Tribute to Venom
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Curse Of Izanagi

SIGH Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Gallows Gallery by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.89 | 32 ratings

Gallows Gallery
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Now sufficiently experimental that their black metal roots are, whilst still visible in the rear view mirror, not quite the focus of their work any more, Sigh further explored the progressive reaches of their sound on this album, sowing the seeds of strong later works. For instance, Bruce Lamont's guest spot on saxophone would carve out a niche in the band's sound that would later be filled, to the great benefit of their sound, by Dr. Mikannibal. Whilst other bands from the Deathlike Silence stable of second-wave black metallers would take an avant-metal path, perhaps none have done so more successfully than Sigh, with this psychedelic horrorshow another decent contribution to their discography.
 Scorn Defeat by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.03 | 18 ratings

Scorn Defeat
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars There's many reasons why the murder of Euronymous by Varg Vikernes was a tragedy, but one of them is that it gave Varg a big old platform of infamy from which to promote his crank racist views, whilst at the same time it put an end to Euronymous' activities through Deathlike Productions growing the black metal genre.

One illustration of this is Scorn Defeat, the debut album by Sigh. It's easy to forget in these days of the Internet, where you don't need to go that far to get a diverse picture of the worldwide metal scene, that it was much harder even in the early 1990s for an act to get much of a following outside its home turf. That's why it was so great of Euronymous to reach out and give this Japanese act a European release, flying in the face of the national rivalries that had characterised some facets of the black metal scene at the time (not to mention the toxic fascist elements that had been creeping in here and there) and recognising that good music knows no national or cultural borders.

For their part, Sigh capture the early 1990s black metal sound perfectly but also bring in the occasional melodic, near-symphonic moments (with some passages resembling something out of a classic JRPG soundtrack). Even with these sections, this is about as traditionally kvlt as Sigh ever got, but it's a good fit for the classic Deathlike Silence period.

 Graveward by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.94 | 12 ratings

Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Graveward" is the 10th full-length studio album by Japanese extreme metal act Sigh. The album was released through Candlelight Records in April 2015. Itīs the successor to "In Somniphobia" from 2012. Formed in 1990 Sigh is widely considered one of the leading extreme metal acts from Japan. Theyīve gone through several musical phases, and have experimentet a lot with their sound, but has always maintained a basis of blackened thrash/speed/heavy metal.

Thatīs also the case on "Graveward", which reeks old school heavy metal, thrash- and speed metal, but combines those vintage musical elements with an avant garde approach. Again thatīs what weīve come to expect from Sigh, and in that respect "Graveward" is just another day at the office for Sigh. But when that is said Sigh as usual twists their core style, and makes sure that their listeners leave the listening session with an expression of surprise on their faces. "What the Hell just happened There"?

Keyboards/synths/organ played in symphonic style, hard rock style, and eerie horror effect style, raspy aggressive vocals complimented by higher pitched power/traditional heavy metal vocals, and occasional use of operatic female vocals, handclaps, programming/samples, saxophone, neoclassical leanings/themes, melodic guitar solos, and some lounge jazz sections, just to mention some of the features which compliment the more traditional heavy/speed/thrash metal basis of the bandīs sound. Itīs often arranged in a multi-layered style, which keeps the listener on his/her toes. The core of the bandīs sound isnīt that complex, but the clever and quite challenging arrangements are intricate to say the least. The surprising combination of elements and styles sometimes leaves the listener in bewilderment. For example on "The Tombfiller", which sounds a bit like Yngwie Malmsteen meets Venom put through an avant garde grinder, or "The Casketburner" which is also a highly eclectic track.

The musicianship is on a high level. Itīs all very organic, and even when the drums play something almost painfully simple and the guitar riffs play a rather generic speed/heavy metal riff, you always have the feeling, that these guys are consciously holding back and just having fun. They are completely in control of the stylistic elements required for the various sections of their music.

"Graveward" is a well produced album with a pretty raw and organic sound on the bass, guitars, and drums, while all things on top of the basic instruments arenīt as old school produced. Upon conclusion "Graveward" is yet another high quality release by Sigh. Itīs an album you can listen to multible times, and still find new details, but itīs still hard rocking enough to not become too intellectual for itīs own good. Sigh as always strike a good balance between old school heavy/speed/thrash metal and avant garde. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

 Hangman's Hymn - Musikalische Exequien by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.98 | 29 ratings

Hangman's Hymn - Musikalische Exequien
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars After a couple avant-garde releases that were still just barely clinging on to an association with black metal, the strange musical entity known as SIGH retreats back to a predominant black metal sound on HANGMAN'S HYMN: MUSIKALISCHE EXEQUIEN with a brash bravado and hyperactive dynamic delivery unlike many of their releases and has an energy level more akin to a thrash or death metal band. The music is an interesting mix of speedy black metal with raspy vocals (and rare clean ones) mixed with a symphonic pompousness that at times seem like they are competing with one another. The general pattern is a black metal dominant sound which in a patterned manner takes back seat to symphonic elements which are based of Mozart's "Requiem in D-minor," continuing this Japanese band's obsession with all things Western music. The album is divided into three acts which is basically a black metal opera of sort. In composure it brings to mind Carach Angren's "Where The Corpses Sink Forever" but sounds a bit like Crade Of Filth with the aggressive metal mixed with sophisticated symphonics.

When it comes to the choir parts of this album SIGH didn't fool around. They solicited volunteers to sing in Latin and send in audio files and the result is a rich and bloated full sound that belies the fact that this is really just a quartet on full time duty. This is in short, a very well done album that delivers both black metal and symphonic balance where every tracks runs together in harmony and I find the album really goes by too fast. Although it seems like "Imaginary Sonicscape" is the one stop and move on album in SIGH's discography, I would like to emphasize how good their other albums are. This one is certainly more metal oriented than that album but for anyone interested in a black metal sound that is embellished with brilliant additional elements then SIGH simply must be checked out beyond a token single album. For those with a fetish for symphonic metal of any type this one will certainly entertain your inner Mozart meets Darkthrone fantasies.

 Scorn Defeat by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.03 | 18 ratings

Scorn Defeat
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars SIGH was actually one of the first non-European black metal bands having formed in 1989. After sending out demos they caught the attention of original Mayhem singer Dead and then after his suicide ended up in the hands of Euronymous, guitarist of Mayhem. Having caught his attention they were signed to his label Deathlike Silence Records and their debut album SCORN DEFEAT was released in 1993. Unfortunately Euronymous was murdered shortly thereafter and they moved over to Cacophonous Records after this release.

The album became a cult classic.This is their so-called traditional black metal album before they started experimenting eventually reaching avant-garde heights with IMAGINARY SONICSCAPE, however even on this debut release SIGH sounded like no one else.

As with many of the black metal acts that graced the early 90s, the influences appear to be the early old school black metal / thrash bands of the 80s like Venom, Mercyful Fate, Celtic Frost and also of the early second wavers like Darkthrone and Mayhem. In fact the title of the album is taken from a line off of Venom's 'Welcome To Hell.'

SIGH incorporated classical piano on this release making them one of the first to incorporate keyboards into the black metal mix which would influence bands such as Emperor, Dimmu Borgir and Cradle Of Filth and the countless symphonic black metal bands that followed.

The inchoate ideas that SIGH present here are interesting for their historical significance in the development of black metal scene however what's really missing here are some outstanding songs. This debut album is definitely worth a listen but it's obvious that despite the wealth of ideas they had yet to assembly them into interesting concoctions.

 Imaginary Sonicscape by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.33 | 106 ratings

Imaginary Sonicscape
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars Having shed most of their black metal roots with the exception of the vocals, this is in fact a smorgasbord of musical genres and ideas happily playing together and taking turns in their parade from one sonicscape to another. The first song 'Corpsecry - Angelfall' is a perfect example. Yes, the vocals are of a black metal style, but the guitar riff sounds more Iron Maiden inspired to me with lots of electronic embellishments.

Unpredictable yet accessible is the name of the game here. You never know what the next track will bring you. Will it be a loungy jazz track completely synthesized with psychedelic sound effects and a nice keyboard solo? Or will it be a depressing doomy metal country song with a disco break? Very Mr Bungle inspired but sounding nothing like them.

The epitomy of the avant-garde can be heard on the closing title 'Requiem ' Nostalgia.' It is a mishmash of electronic vocals, black metal growling and clean operatic vocals! Very cool stuff that belies any labeling. A big fat album of extreme eclecticism that ends with a classical Chopin piano piece accompanied by stereophonic giggling babies! Welcome to the wonderful world of SIGH! 4.5 rounded up

 In Somniphobia by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.95 | 50 ratings

In Somniphobia
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by 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.
 Imaginary Sonicscape by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.33 | 106 ratings

Imaginary Sonicscape
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This is my first taste of the Japanese rockers Sigh, and this trio are on a totally different musical planet to the rest of us. If their other four full-length albums are quite like this, then they have been wreaking some sort of musical terrorism. Example: The first song is called "Corpsecry ? Angelfall". Right I thought, a Death Metal album. Then the guitars started and I thought no, a wicked trad metal album. Then the vocals started, and I thought that is strange, as it was trad rock but with death vocals. When the orchestral section kicked in, I was confused. The Las Vegas lounge core had me going for a while, but by the time we came to the piano instrumental I had given up trying to work out what was going on in their oriental minds.

It is one of the most confusing albums I have ever heard. Just when I think I have a handle on them they shoot off in a weird direction from left field. If they left some of the basic rock songs alone they would be great, but they have to tamper with each. Their audiences must get very confused. Nevertheless, because of all of this, this is very much a fun album to listen to. The eleven-minute "Slaughtergarden Suite" shows that Sigh definitely inhabit another realm, and I want to visit.

Originally appeared in Feedback #63, July 01

 In Somniphobia by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.95 | 50 ratings

In Somniphobia
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by 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.

 Imaginary Sonicscape by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.33 | 106 ratings

Imaginary Sonicscape
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by CCVP
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Psychedelic black metal

The extreme progressive metal bands are indeed quite a strange lot. Right from the start, with very few exceptions, you can never determine where they will come from or what they will sound in the future. In spite of that, with over 20 years after the first members of such lot appeared, some patterns start to appear, like the progressive "symphonic" (used here as a broad term) black metal of Vintersorg, Borknagar, Arcturus, Solefald and Moonsorrow, the progressive "space" black metal such as Enslave and Helheim, the progressive melodic death metal from bands like Edge of Sanity, Disillusion and Kalysia, the progressive death metal of bands like Augury, Death, Gojira and Blotted Science, the jazz metal fusion, famed by bands such as Pestilence, Cynic, Atheist, Aghora, Animals as Leaders and Exivious and the progressive thrash of Watchtower, Voivod, Spastic Ink and Vektor.

However, even in a genre with so many different sub genres within itself some bands find a way to defy all of them and create something that can only be described as their sound. Something so unique that they will serve as a point of reference for all others to follow, merging influences, musical styles and blurring the lines of what's possible and what's not possible inside extreme metal. Together with Opeth and Meshuggah, Sigh is one of those bands. Reinventing themselves in every new album, breaking boundaries and new ground, this Japanese band definitely does not fear innovating and renovating themselves. Said transformation properly started in their fourth full-length studio album, entitled Scenario IV: Dread Dreams, when they started transforming to something more than just a black metal band; however, things would only bloom in full with their next album, the 2001 opus entitled Imaginary Sonicscapes.

Throwing many conventions for black metal music right off the window, Sigh here starts their journey to merge unexpected and, at times, completely unrelated genres together, mishmashing everything into one record. Here, sigh incorporates huge deals of psychedelic music from the 1960's and early 1970's into their compositions as well as adds overlays of electronic effects to them. The end result, however good it is, feels somewhat flawed for me mainly because of the keyboard and synthesizer tones they decided to use here. Yes, the choice of using some keyboard and synth sounds that clearly belonged to the 1990's was not good at all because, after all, said decade was not quite fond of good keyboard sounds in general. That can be felt even in very good albums, like Dream Theater's Images and Words and Arcturus's La Masquerade Infernale.

Apart from that, all other instruments sound terrific! I specially like how the guitar sound raw, deep and intense and how the drums also sound raw and aggressive, accentuating the band's musical potency in general.

Another minor downturn is insisting in the idea that harsh vocals should and must be used in every instance of every song. Some songs or parts of songs here would sound better if the vocals were sung of whispered in a creepy or frightening manner, so the vocals would emphasize the song's atmosphere. On the bright side, they have learned this and on future albums they have used such resources to impressive results.

As I said earlier, the music here can be described as psychedelic rock mixed with black metal. But, how can you even begin to describe such sound? After all, there are not any point of reference to how they sound. Nothing. In spite of that, I feel that putting together completely unrelated bands I could try and explain how Sigh sounds here: just imagine if early Venom decided to play some songs by the (late era) Beatles or (early) Soft Machine or the Beach Boys (around Pet Sounds) or Iron Butterfly (around In a Gadda da Vida). Try and picture that and you will have an idea of how Sigh is in Imaginary Sonicscapes.

Rating and Final Thoughts

Even though Imaginary is much loved by many (of the few) who know in depth the music of Sigh, to the point of considering this 2001 album the best in the band's musical career, I beg to differ. In spite of having interesting, inspired and innovative musical ideas, their execution is underwhelming at points, what keeps me from giving this album the perfect rating. I must agree, however, that it is excellent in many instances and, in the big picture, it is an impressive album, whose music twists and turns in exciting and unexpected ways. That is why I believe the 4 stars rating fits this album perfectly.

Thanks to morpheusdravenfuid=morpheusdraven for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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