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SIGH

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


In SomniphobiaIn Somniphobia
Candlelight 2012
Audio CD$9.52
$15.44 (used)
Imaginary SonicscapeImaginary Sonicscape
The End Records 2009
Audio CD$6.97
$8.34 (used)
Hangman's HymnHangman's Hymn
The End Records 2007
Audio CD$7.86
$1.95 (used)
Scenes from HellScenes from Hell
The End Records 2010
Audio CD$6.23
$5.99 (used)
Scorn DefeatScorn Defeat
Deluxe Edition · Double CD
Deepsend Records
Audio CD$15.49
$10.94 (used)
Gallows GalleryGallows Gallery
Remastered
The End Records 2007
Audio CD$6.49
$4.90 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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More places to buy SIGH music online Buy SIGH & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
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SIGH shows & tickets


  • Metal Magic Festival 2015 on 9 Jul 2015

SIGH discography


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

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

2.73 | 13 ratings
Scorn Defeat
1993
3.62 | 12 ratings
Infidel Art
1995
3.98 | 25 ratings
Hail Horror Hail
1997
3.95 | 21 ratings
Scenario IV: Dread Dreams
1999
4.20 | 101 ratings
Imaginary Sonicscape
2001
3.82 | 27 ratings
Gallows Gallery
2005
4.00 | 19 ratings
Hangman's Hymn
2007
3.96 | 17 ratings
Scenes from Hell
2010
3.92 | 44 ratings
In Somniphobia
2012

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

3.00 | 3 ratings
The Eastern Force of Evil: Live 92' - 96'
1997

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
Desolation
1990
2.05 | 2 ratings
Tragedies
1990
3.00 | 1 ratings
Requiem For The Fools
1992
3.00 | 1 ratings
Sigh / Kawir split 7
1994
3.00 | 1 ratings
To Hell and Back
1995
3.13 | 5 ratings
Ghastly Funeral Theatre
1997
3.00 | 1 ratings
Sigh / Necrophagia split
2003
3.00 | 1 ratings
Abigail / Sigh - Evilized Japan split
2004
3.50 | 2 ratings
A Tribute to Venom
2008
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Curse Of Izanagi
2010

SIGH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Scorn Defeat by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.73 | 13 ratings

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Scorn Defeat
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Imaginary Sonicscape by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.20 | 101 ratings

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Imaginary Sonicscape
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

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

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 In Somniphobia by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.92 | 44 ratings

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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.

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 Imaginary Sonicscape by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.20 | 101 ratings

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Imaginary Sonicscape
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

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

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 In Somniphobia by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.92 | 44 ratings

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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 it´s doubtful they´ll ever return to planet earth. While the basis in the music is as always a raw type blackened thrash/heavy metal, that´s 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. I´ll 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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 Imaginary Sonicscape by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.20 | 101 ratings

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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.

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 In Somniphobia by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.92 | 44 ratings

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In Somniphobia
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by 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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 Imaginary Sonicscape by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.20 | 101 ratings

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Imaginary Sonicscape
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Earendil

5 stars I'm not a huge black metal fan. At this point in my life, I've listened to around 10 black metal albums, and that's including stuff like Alcest. But oh my goodness, this album... I've already listened to it 10 times itself. Each song is both "catchy" (in black metal terms) and yet also ridiculously dense and eclectic. From electronic to 70's prog to various types of world music, all this manages to proceed forth in the music. But what really makes the variety so effective is how natural it feels. There are no obvious transitions between types of music; they simply spring forth (sometimes almost imperceptible beneath a wall of dissonance) and fade away just as casually. And through all this, this album is a blast to listen to. Despite dark, beautiful, moving lyrics, this black metal has moments of pure ecstasy that shine through. It all feels so natural: the anger, the peacefulness, the seriousness, the light-heartedness. This album is a masterpiece.

Rating: 10/10

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 The Curse Of Izanagi by SIGH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2010
4.00 | 3 ratings

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The Curse Of Izanagi
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'The Curse Of Izanagi' - Sigh (7/10)

In tandem with the release of their eighth studio album 'Scenes From Hell', Sigh put out this EP to give their rabid fans something extra to chew into. 'The Curse Of Izanagi' is a four song EP from these guys, and I have to say, even though the band was not setting off to do anything groundbreaking for their career here, they have created a charismatic batch of tracks here that shows the strange style of Sigh in full. Like most people, I tend not to take EPs with the same serious intent that I would a full-length album, and while there is not the sort of depth here that I would find on a full record by this band, there is certainly enough here to keep a listener engaged through to the end.

The first song here is the title track, and it really shows Sigh moving back to their roots of black metal. Saturated with screams, blastbeats, and a level of speed where I was thinking I had a malfunctioning copy that was running twice as fast, 'The Curse Of Izanagi' would actually be a pretty incomprehensible short burst of raw black metal, were it not for the symphonic orchestrations that are added overtop. Sigh uses some Japanese traditional sounds here, and it gives the band a more unique and distinctive feel to them. Next is 'War', which is more an ambient track than anything, with eerie soundscapes and a British accented man droning on with poetry that sounds like it could very well be Edgar Allan Poe's. It is a great track for ambiance and atmosphere, but didn't give me that chaotic shock like the first track.

The third track here 'Spiritual' may be the least memorable track of them all, despite being the most melodic. It takes that fusion of Japanese symphonic elements and raw metal that we heard on the first track and goes in a different direction with it, a slower moving track with the keyboards forming a pleasant melody. Despite having grimy chords backing it up, it is actually a fairly optimistic track, and a sharp contrast to the final track. Paying homage to what I can interpret as their equivalent of 'gods on earth' (based on the amount of tributes they have given to them), Sigh covers a track by their favourite band Venom, the song 'Countess Bathory'. Here, we hear Sigh as raw and filthy as they were at the start of their careers, and while the song is incredibly simple (it actually reminded me of a black metal rendition of Nirvana, goat help me...), it is memorable as hell, ending the EP on a powerful note.

Although it will certainly be fans that will get the most out of this record, 'The Curse Of Izanagi' is a great EP from Sigh, and shows some of metal's most innovative personnel doing what they do best. There is still nothing groundbreaking here, but there is more than enough here to impress me.

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 Infidel Art by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.62 | 12 ratings

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Infidel Art
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by 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.

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