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SIGH

Experimental/Post Metal • Japan


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Sigh picture
Sigh biography
Formed in 1989 in Tokyo, Japan - Still active as of 2017

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 ...
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Buy SIGH Music


Heir To DespairHeir To Despair
Spinefarm 2018
$10.34
$12.73 (used)
GravewardGraveward
CANDLELIGHT RECORDS 2015
$3.50
Imaginary SonicscapeImaginary Sonicscape
BMG/The End Records 2009
$52.00
$13.51 (used)
In SomniphobiaIn Somniphobia
CANDLELIGHT RECORDS 2015
$13.98 (used)
Scenes From HellScenes From Hell
BMG/The End Records 2010
$39.99
$14.98 (used)
Hangman's HymnHangman's Hymn
BMG/The End Records 2007
$47.99
$4.63 (used)
Scorn DefeatScorn Defeat
Deluxe Edition · Double CD
Deepsend Records
$13.98 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
PIERRE HENRY "Variations For A Door And A Sigh" Vinyl LP-1968 Limelight LS-86059 USD $35.99 Buy It Now 2h
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More places to buy SIGH music online Buy SIGH & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

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)

3.05 | 23 ratings
Scorn Defeat
1993
3.70 | 24 ratings
Infidel Art
1995
4.20 | 38 ratings
Hail Horror Hail
1997
3.94 | 34 ratings
Scenario IV: Dread Dreams
1999
4.33 | 132 ratings
Imaginary Sonicscape
2001
3.74 | 40 ratings
Gallows Gallery
2005
3.94 | 34 ratings
Hangman's Hymn - Musikalische Exequien
2007
4.03 | 34 ratings
Scenes From Hell
2010
3.94 | 56 ratings
In Somniphobia
2012
3.81 | 17 ratings
Graveward
2015
3.93 | 8 ratings
Heir To Despair
2018

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

3.40 | 5 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)

3.09 | 3 ratings
Desolation
1990
2.18 | 3 ratings
Tragedies
1990
3.67 | 3 ratings
Requiem For The Fools
1992
4.00 | 2 ratings
Sigh / Kawir split 7
1994
3.00 | 2 ratings
To Hell and Back
1995
3.19 | 8 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
 Infidel Art by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.70 | 24 ratings

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Infidel Art
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars SIGH's connection to the world of second wave black metal is in many ways more circumstantial than musically related but throughout its multi-decade career and indeed displaying some of the characteristics that the Norwegian scene delivered in abundance, the band has continued to evolve its unique hybridization effect that really took off on this second album. The discovery of this band can be attributed to Euronymous of Mayhem, one of Norway's premiere forces of black metal terror that the world wasn't ready for. After hearing this bizarre hybrid of musical styles that mixed European black metal with symphonic and classical elements enshrouded in the avant-garde, Euronymous quickly signed the fledgling act to his infamous Deathlike Silence Records where the trio of Mirai Kawashima (vocals, bass, keyboards), Shinichi Ishikawa (guitars) and Satoshi Fujinami (drums, percussion) released the debut album "Scorn Defeat" but to the band's dismay Euryonymous would soon die and the label would go down in flames with him.

Back the drawing board but having gained some momentum with a single release due to the band's early idiosyncrasies that easily stood out amongst the burgeoning packs filling up the wolf's den and found a new home on the British based Cacophonous Records where they would soon release the second album INFIDEL ART. The fact is that SIGH has never truly fit into the black metal scene even from the very beginning but on "Infidel Art" it was obviously that they had no interest in trying to adapt to that cookie-cutter description and instead opted to explore a wide new arena of possibilities and in the process of going down this path has become one of Japan's most interesting bands to exist within the greater metal paradigm with one album after another showing yet another distinct persona that never seems to find an end to the variations and experimental touches that this band has nurtured every step of the way.

While still generally dropped into the black metal category for convenience's sake, INFIDEL ART doesn't exude the typical rage and boisterous angst that the early 90s delivered in the second wave scene. Instead it mixes the elements of black metal that include the filthy raw guitar distortion and raspy vocal style with Western classical infusions that offer long drawn out symphonic piano motifs with many moments more reminiscent of Frederic Chopin than anything Darkthrone or Emperor ever created. There is a clear sense of nonchalant meandering on SIGH's second offering especially with the tamped down tempos that offer more glimpses of doom metal than the blackened blastbeats or tremolo picking styles almost ubiquitously implemented in the style of the era. Add to that a clear sense of progressive sensibilities that allowed the compositions to spiral into sophisticated layers of tones, timbres and labyrinthine constructs that eschewed the predictable tritone fury and instead created journeys into a more surreal sonicscape.

With two distinct album slices called "SIde Terror" and "Side Funeral," INFIDEL ART opens with "Izuna" which displays some connections to the black metal world, it doesn't take long for the copious piano rolls and symphonic touches to usurp the existential angst and instead create a lush form of progressive rock. Tracks like "Desolation" get even weirder as it lollygags slowly down a lamenting trajectory at a funeral doom metal's pace only accompanied by lush atmospheric orchestration, classical piano riffs and even eerie theremin sounds creating a haunting vibe. The vocal performances eschew singing for the most part with some sort of declarative poetic prose only half-sung which after listening to this so closely after reviewing Dødheimgard's magnum opus "A Umbra Omega," it becomes perfectly clear exactly where the inspiration behind that album originated from which makes SIGH a significant early band of influential prowess for the avant-garde splintering off bands of the black metal world who also quickly tired of the one-dimensional nature of the most simplistic paradigms and went for the avant-garde jugular.

The longest track "The Last Elegy" at 10 and a half minutes begins like a symphony from the 1700s in all its authenticity before morphing into a doom metal monster that sounds a bit like My Dying Bride only with classical keyboards replacing the lugubrious string sounds of the violin. The track ratchets up both the metal and symphonic touches as well as becoming more progressive with a continuing parade of musical motifs building intensity with interesting call and response vocal sections as well as a more upbeat Black Sabbath guitar riffing section. The album continues with not one but TWO more tracks that just miss the ten minute mark with a continuation of the classical music motifs fortified by both doom and black metal styles all decked out symphonic touches and progressive build ups that explode into thundering climactic resolutions. I've never considered INFIDEL ART to be one of SIGH's best works but after a few more listens lately this album has gotten under my skin and for those who aren't black metal purists and appreciate the dexterity of genre juggling so perfectly performed then you can't go wrong with this album. Not quite as adventurous as some of the future albums but what this album lacks in sheer diversity of musical styles, it more than makes up for in top notch compositions that find the perfect balance between beautiful melodies and metal bombast although tamped down to the doom metal variety for the majority of the album's run.

 Heir To Despair by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.93 | 8 ratings

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Heir To Despair
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Though I've lived in Japan for nearly 20 years, I don't know many Japanese metal bands, and until recently, I didn't know Sigh either. Then within the space of about a week, not only was Sigh mentioned in two metal album discussion videos I watched on YouTube, but their album 'Heir to Despair' showed up in a recommended albums message from Amazon. Being a sucker for album art, I ordered the album right after checking out whose album cover this painting graced. Then I made a quick visit to YouTube to make sure I hadn't ordered something that would leave me dubiously scratching my chin.

The artwork really intrigued me. It has a very 1950's/60's, Showa' Japanese look to it. The woman is smiling as beautifully as though she were a star actress posing for a movie poster. And yet the plant she waters has withered and the room behind her looks not only austere but items on the floor and torn images on the walls suggest that someone had a serious freak out session in there. Word is the image and the album are about insanity? (The Japanese text translates directly to 'Inheritor of despair', by the way)

I had no idea about what music to expect except for that it would be metal. That Sigh cover black metal, avant-garde metal, progressive metal and more was unknown to me; however, before the album was over I could have guessed most of that myself. The music is speedy, melodic, symphonic at times, suggestive of power metal in a spot or two, and holds a fudge ton of progressive and odd bits to make sure that the album never becomes repetitive. One thing I'm very glad to hear is the variety of additional instruments, particularly traditional instruments like koto and shamisen, but also a good variety of other sounds and effects. Flute also figures in prominently in some tracks. The 'Heresy' trilogy is the most exceptional moment on the album with distorted vocoder vocals, electronic effects, sounds and voices, and a liberal amount of creative editing used to great effect.

Actually, the whole album very masterfully weaves together such an eclectic melange of metal styles so that crunchy guitars yield to Eastern music for a space, flute delightfully plays along to distortion- enriched power chords, symphonic elements add the extra 'umph' to some parts, accordion lends a folk feeling, and traditional Japanese instruments expand the soundscape further. As another reviewer stated, one never can be sure of where the next track will go or what will follow.

I'm not especially a fan of Japanese vocals in any popular music genre because I find them usually too similar in a predictable way. But here, the vocal styles and sounds I would expect from a Japanese metal band don't remain stuck in a trench. They are principally black metal croaks but joined at times by growls. There are also chanted vocals and rapid fire, staccato utterances. Most of the lyrics are in Japanese for which I'm grateful as I sometimes cringe the way some vocalists struggle with English phonetics. (To give an example from another band, 'I cross my heart / I cross my eyes' when 'cross' was supposed to be 'close'). Yet, to give praise where it's due, none of the English on 'Heir to Despair' has stood out for being poorly pronounced to my ears. Then again, I've mostly been enjoying the sounds of the music and vocals and haven't concentrated on the lyrics.

Having never heard any other Sigh albums, I have nothing to compare this to. But I'm very impressed with the package presented here. I love an album of creative and diverse musical approaches, and the recording quality captures all the band's efforts really well. It's a delight to listen to this album!

 Heir To Despair by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.93 | 8 ratings

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Heir To Despair
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Sigh have been one of the most interesting Japanese bands for some time now, and here with their eleventh album they have taken another musical turn in their journey which may surprise some and will delight many. It is an album about insanity, and at first glance at the artwork that doesn't make sense as surely the woman watering her flowers is smiling? Find a nice big version of the image and you will realise the plants are dying, it not already dead, and the room behind her is in chaos. Japanese band Sigh will release their eleventh studio album Heir to Despair on November 16 via Candlelight Records. The album is mostly sung in Japanese, which is very unusual for the band, while Mirai Kawashima used some Japanese traditional singing techniques and Kevin Kmetz, formerly of Estradasphere and master of the traditional Japanese instrument, the shamisen, is featured on several tracks. This definitely gives the band a very traditional feel

While their last album, 'Graveward', contained some symphonic and orchestral elements, this has one has been inspired by progressive bands and contains plenty of vintage keyboards and flute as well as the riffing guitars we would normally expect. The band state they been paying attention to the likes Brainticket, Embryo, Agitation Free, Between, Gentle Giant, Os Mutantes, Modulo 1000 and Black Widow, which isn't a list one can imagine ever seeing from a Japanese metal act. I love the sheer diversity of this album, one never knows what is coming next, either from the next song or even the next few bars of the song which is being played. One might imagine it to be incredibly challenging, but in fact it is actually a really easy album to listen to. I enjoyed it the first time I played it, and each time since then has allowed me to discover something else.

Sigh continue to move, change, and challenge both themselves and their fans, and this is an incredibly strong result on every level.

 Scenes From Hell by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.03 | 34 ratings

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Scenes From Hell
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The first Sigh album to include the scintillating contributions of Dr. Mikannibal on saxophone and vocals, Scenes From Hell continues the band's explorations of symphonic avant-black metal frenzy. David Tibet of Current 93 is an unexpected but welcome guest this time around, offering spoken word recitations on The Red Funeral and Musica In Tempora Belli (roughly translating to "Music In Times of War"). It's all gruesome, rough fun, though I do wonder whether a more lively production job wouldn't have teased out all the ingredients of Sigh's bizarre stew a bit more evenly. That said, the air of murkiness does harken back to Sigh's earliest releases, setting this in a continuity of musical development that began in the second wave of black metal and has fruited in this bizarre hybrid.
 Scenario IV: Dread Dreams by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.94 | 34 ratings

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Scenario IV: Dread Dreams
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Scenario IV by Sigh might be better entitled "Hail Horror Hail II", since it's largely a continuation of the general approach of that album, with extensive shifts of musical style and approach mid-composition being a regular occurrence. With a range of extreme metal styles and non-metal styles, as well as sections combining the two (there's bits which recall some of the more "black 'n' roll" segments of Hail Horror Hail, for instance), it's certainly as diverse an album as its predecessor, though the transitions here seem more abrupt and arbitrary than on that album.

It's still a very solid release, mind - "not as good as Hail Horror Hail" still leaves room to be very, very good indeed.

 Hail Horror Hail by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.20 | 38 ratings

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Hail Horror Hail
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars An early masterpiece from Sigh finds them shifting from the straight-ahead black metal of their early releases into what you might describe as symphonic black metal style - but only if the symphony in question were composed by Mr. Bungle or something. The opening title track almost resembles a hybrid power-thrash metal piece, with only the shrieked vocals keeping us anchored in black metal territory, and then the rest of the album takes us on a delirious tour de force, with moods ranging from the manic (like in the enigmatic 42 49) to the epic (like album centrepiece The Dead Sing, which conjures a landscape where "even the dead CRY FOR HELP!").

If you want find the spot where Sigh definitively stepped away from the second wave Norwegian black metal forces they'd been allied with in their early years and became their own unique channel of chaos and nightmare into the world, then Hail Horror Hail is where it all happens. Give it several listens, because you won't unpack everything in this movie for your ears right away.

 Gallows Gallery by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.74 | 40 ratings

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Gallows Gallery
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Luqueasaur

3 stars Power metal. Power metal. Power metal. Repetition ad infinitum metal: 6/10

While the previous release defined SIGH as a musical omnibus of avant-garde black metal rather than just a (progressive) black metal band, this one pretty much scrubbed "black" from their sonority... and "avant-garde" too. GALLOWS GALLERY comes right after SIGH's untouchable magnum opus IMAGINARY SONISCAPE, and apparently, those guys were on a creative shortage, even after four years of rest. It's pretty much a power metal, but on SIGH's way - more complex and less neoclassical than the genre stereotypically suggest - without any traces of blackness nor experimentality. Good ole' power. Now, this wouldn't be a problem if not that all tracks sound virtually the same. I found interesting how the ending of each song featured the riff of the next one as some sort of bridge, but there's really LITTLE difference between the tracks. They're all on the same tempo, with similar melodies, similar riffs, similar feels. I have never listened to an album that sounds so much like blatant copy-paste before. That doesn't take away the enjoyability - which is guaranteed because it's so fun, I myself listened to it several times - but it does disappoint many that views SIGH as a visionary powerhouse. At one hand, they refused to accept sameness, once again opting to shift their style, like a chameleon does. But that isn't enough to excuse them from the lack of creativity and variation.

I mentioned it's fun. However, to quote Mirai:

"Some people say that our late stuff sounds happy, but I have never ever had the intention to express happy feelings in any way. My motivation as a musician is always negative things. I can't write any happy songs, probably because I am a negative person to the bone..."

 Imaginary Sonicscape by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.33 | 132 ratings

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Imaginary Sonicscape
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars Scream for love, scream for hate, scream for life, scream for SIGH: 10/10

In the 80's, the guitarist of black metal pioneers MAYHEM created Deathlike Sentence Records, a label whose intention was to bring limelight to obscure talents of black metal throughout the world. SIGH was one of the few gifted by this ephemerous sparkle in the dark (no pun intended), releasing their debut SCORN DEFEAT (1993) and audaciously claiming the title of forerunners of the extreme metal scene in Japan. Under Mirai Kawashima wicked but highly genial's leadership that had no affection to sameness, it took very little time before they shifted their sonority from "classic" black metal to more... eccentric branches. More knowledgeable listeners of SIGH claims this transition is first noticeable in HAIL HORROR HAIL (1997).

Fast-forward four years and they release their boldest and most experimental album: IMAGINARY SONICSCAPE. It's, if anything, subversive for the concept of black metal. The genre implies hopelessness, anger, terror, darkness, whereas SIGH brings us highly upbeat, energetic songs. It's pretty clear that Kawashima doesn't care even the slightest about conventions because this is one of the most un-labellable albums I've ever heard. To simplify things, we can say that IMAGINARY SONICSCAPE is a surprisingly excellent mixture between what seemed to be water and oil: cheerful rock riffs and electronic effects with the torn and suffocating black metal vocals.

Each song has its own core - from 80's glam black metal to (black?) jazz noir- which is entirely unique to itself. SIGH is definitely eclectic when it comes to influences, and prodigal when the subject is the usage of synthesizers & electronic devices. They also demonstrated that pretty much any genre can sound great with that sweet, sweet absolutely disgraceful and suffered guttural vocals. And the best part: they don't sacrifice enjoyability for the sake of innovativeness, so you don't have to worry about mixtures being so bold they sound bad because every song has only characteristics that make them appealing and pleasant to listen to, no matter what is the Frankenstein built. I like to think that SIGH performed countless experiments, but nitpicked few of them that sounded masterful and compiled them under that psychedelic cover.

The supreme, undoubtful, unmatchable highlight is the legendary Slaughtergarden Suite. The first scene is an abrasive, dark and twisted industrial metal atmosphere, featuring a dark guitar solo by Shinichi. As you least expect, though, the song quickly switches into a jazz fusion deliciousness. As the guitar gently sweeps some funky riffs, the vocals groan delicate and bouyant lyrics: "Die at my slaughtergarden, say goodbye to your filthy life / Die at my slaughtergarden, vengeance to the world full of lives". Mirai then grabs his Fender Rhodes and Minimoog and plays a solo which in my opinion is one of the best keyboard solos in the avant-garde genre. You can't topple that psychedelic grooviness.

One weird thing is that many tracks abruptly ends into classical music/lullaby-sounding pieces. Mirai is a mad genius and he must have had a reason to do that... which I don't know what is.

I could babble forever why this album is superb, but I'll make myself short. It's a. an excellent introduction to extreme metal for people who hate extreme metal (the mellow riffs sweetens the bitter harsh vocals) b. is an excellent demonstration of experimentality without abandoning musicality and c. it's just so fun to listen to. The only type of person I wouldn't recommend this music to is to pop listeners because that creativity galore would freak them out, but then again, they wouldn't possibly be accessing ProgArchives, so I don't have to worry about it. If you're not a pop listener, though... there's no way you won't like this.

 Gallows Gallery by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.74 | 40 ratings

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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.
 Scenes From Hell by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.03 | 34 ratings

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Scenes From Hell
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Pastmaster

5 stars "Fire is so cold though my blood is boiling in my veins. Vice on virtue, victory on vanity. Answer me now, I will laugh in pain."

Few bands can claim to be as eclectic as the Japanese extreme metal band Sigh. While the band's main sound is based in black metal, the band has made use of a wide variety of influences which includes but is not limited to: classical music, thrash metal, power metal, jazz, and doom metal.

Sigh may be presenting Scenes From Hell, but who knew hell would be an orchestral assault of thrashing black metal riffing. No other song on the album beats the rampage of the opening "Prelude to the Oracle", which never lets up with its rapid thrashing and chaotic orchestrations. After opening with spoken word, "The Red Funeral" blends brooding doom metal and melodic black metal with more strings and orchestra. The latter is pretty much prevalent in the whole album, making the album play out like some sort of demented symphony or movie score, ending with the raging title track as a grand finale.

The production couldn't be any more perfect for the sound of this album, as it has a real dirty and filthy sound that gives a nice contrast between the grimy riffing and also prevalent melody throughout the album. "Prelude to the Oracle" and the title track in particular show this contrast quite well. The murky basslines and stabbing thrashing in the latter are particular great.

If you're looking for some eclectic black metal that lies on the more melodic and thrashing side of the spectrum, you can't do much better than Sigh. The band has many great albums, but to me Scenes From Hell is one of their finest records and most focused.

Written on MMA (MetalMusicArchives) See review here: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/review/scenes-from-hell/323070

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

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