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EXPERIMENTAL/POST METAL

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Experimental/Post Metal definition

 

Experimental Progressive Metal

Experimental progressive metal is a sub-genre of progressive metal characterized by the incorporation of innovative, eclectic elements, large-scale experimentation and the use of non-standard and unconventional sounds, instruments, song structures, playing styles, and vocal techniques. Experimentation in the music is a major criteria to define the genre where artists often add unique elements to the overall sound, while progressive metal usually has more focus on traditional metal instrumentation and higher levels of technical complexity.

It's nearly impossible to pinpoint the exact origin of Experimental Progressive Metal since experimentation is common in all music genres. Still it is clear that experimentation in the progressive metal sub-genre has slowly but steadily grown in popularity ever since its humble beginnings in the early 1980s.

Just like any other style, Experimental Progressive Metal has a few defining moments that have changed the rules for its sub-genre for years to come. Two of such moments are the releases of the debut album by MR.BUNGLE of August 1991 and its iconic follow up "Disco Volante" of 1995. MR BUNGLE became notorious for their heavy sound and mid-song shifts of musical style. The band has later spawned an array of established avant-garde side projects such as FANTÔMAS, SECRET CHIEFS 3 and ESTRADASPHERE but also inspired new Experimental Metal acts to take the music scene to new heights.
Another crucial artist in the development of Experimental Progressive Metal was the leading Avant Metal band of the 80s, CELTIC FROST. Their eclectic mix of Thrash, Doom, Symphonic and Goth Metal created a dark theatrical mystique that became a major influence among the experimental Extreme Metal bands of the 90s such as MY DYING BRIDE, ULVER, ARCTURUS among others. These bands served as an important source of inspiration for the experimental movement within extreme metal.

The bands listed under Experimental Progressive Metal have all, in various degrees, shed their extreme heritage in favor of embracing influences of the eclectic style going from art rock and ethnic up to free-jazz and even modernist music.

Art Metal
Art metal is a direct continuation of progressive metal but with the longing to expand the themes and styles of music while maintaining the technical complexity of the sub-genre.
These bands are more artistic than their progressive metal peers and tend to experiment, to a certain extent, but not as openly as the bands of the eclectic and avant-garde metal styles. Art metal comes in many shapes and forms. The virtuosity and complete unpredictability of DEVIN TOWNSEND, OSI and TOOL always manages to draw attention of both fans of traditional metal as well as the progressive music audience, while bands like ANATHEMA, DEADSOUL TRIBE and GORDIAN KNOT attract many fans of groove and atmospheric music into their vibrant soundscapes. Other notable acts include GREEN CARNATION, DARK SUNS and ANTIMATTER.

Eclectic Metal
These bands often add unconventional elements to their metal sound, whether it's experiments with various new sounds and styles that are otherwise uncommon in metal or by blending many styles, with metal being the referential core. Whether it's the ethnic elements of ORPHANED LAND's music that combines Middle Eastern folklore with the more traditional progressive metal sound or a completely unique mix of atmospheric, almost ambient, elements fused with metal that can be found in the sound of THE GATHERING, eclectic metal artists will always certainly bring a host of different styles and ideas to the table. Experimental metal can be found in numerous forms while featuring notable acts like INDUKTI, IN THE WOODS... and MAUDLIN OF THE WELL.

Avant-garde Metal
This style is generally considered to be more extreme in both its arrangements but most importantly extremely complex and unpredictable song structures. Compositions have the ambition of trying to breach boundaries of music and generally have significant experimental approaches to metal music. Most of this music borders on the realms of pure avant-garde while still maintaining a solid foundation in metal with technical instrumental prowess. Notable acts include UNEXPECT, EPHEL DUATH and VIRUS.


Post Metal

Post metal arose following the subsequent emergence of numerous newer, grittier metal genres like sludge, stoner, doom, and drone in the late 80's and early 90's, as well as the budding post-rock scene that emerged in the early 90's in Europe and North America. The scene's origins can be heard in several distinctly like-minded, moderately experimental groups in the early 90's, ranging from the noisy grind of GODFLESH, the sludgy, melodic, sometimes punk-like riffs of the MELVINS, and the proggy time signatures and grungy riffing of TOOL or HELMET, to the textural work of DON CABALLERO and the more melodic moments of early BARK PSYCHOSIS.

Arguably the first true and definitive realizations of post-metal emerged in the mid 1990's. The most concrete example was NEUROSIS, who moved farther away from their crust-punk origins and into more atmospheric territories with releases like Souls at Zero and Through Silver in Blood, the latter album in particular being regarded as one of the most definitive releases in the genre even to this day for its revolutionary blend of dark, spanning atmosphere and massively heavy sludge, something that would later come to define the post-metal genre as a whole (indeed, post-metal is often called "atmospheric sludge" as well). It wouldn't be until the early 2000's, however, that the genre's capacity would be fully realized, with releases like ISIS's "Oceanic", CULT OF LUNA's "Salvation", and PELICAN's "Australasia" paving the way for a true scene to emerge, and post-metal has since become a widespread phenomenon that has captivated the attention of many adventurous listeners worldwide.

Post-metal's unique sound is often very long and extremely drawn-out, utilizing oft-repetitive and simple riffs and guitar texturing to create massive buildups and musical climaxes. At times very emotionally evocative, it can be equally soft and soothing as it can be massively dense and crushing. Vocals are used sparingly, if at all (instrumental post-metal is a popular genre, with groups like PELICAN and RUSSIAN CIRCLES even achieving some degree of mainstream credibility), and when they are, they're usually gruff and barked as opposed to growled or screamed, a signature trait of the genre's hardcore roots.

Variations of Post-metal

While it should be noted that many post-metal bands have their roots in sludge metal, there are many post-metal bands that are rooted in other genres of metal. While post-sludge was an almost uniquely American phenomenon, a number of European doom-influenced post-metal bands have risen to fame, namely groups like ANATHEMA, YEAR OF NO LIGHT and CALLISTO; their slow-churning riffs and depressing mood of doom metal fit very well into the post-metal formula. These groups later gave way to more western post-doom-metal projects like JESU, GIANT SQUID, and MINSK.

A number of post-metal bands are significantly influenced by hardcore and post-hardcore, crafting the melodic elements of modern hardcore into their own brands of textural and atmospheric post-metal. This is exemplified by groups like ROSETTA, THE OCEAN COLLECTIVE, CAVE IN, MOUTH OF THE ARCHITECT and BURST.

A subgenre that has emerged to a considerable degree in the last decade is an amalgamation of post-rock and black metal. Black metal has traditionally not been a stylistic influence on post-metal over the years, but bands like ALCEST, FEN, AGALLOCH and ALTAR OF PLAGUES have used the more atmospheric qualities of black metal and the tremolo riffing and incorporated it with a shoegaze-like affinity for heavy, dreamy sounds and guitar effects to create a unique and evocative subgenre that shares many visional and sonic characteristics of post-metal. While the explosion of bands exploring this style is a rather recent phenomenon, there are some instances of this occurring very early in the lifespan of the post-metal genre as a whole. ULVER's debut could be seen as possibly the first album to fall under this definition. For clarification's sake, these post-rock influenced bands are placed in the post-metal subsection of ProgArchives as opposed to the black metal subsection of Tech/Extreme because they eschew much of the harsh tonalities, minor modes, and shrieking vocals of black metal and add a melodic and emotional aspect that makes it much more accessible than their progressive black metal peers in the tech/extreme section.

Today, the most popular post-metal groups are much of the genre's godfathers like ISIS, NEUROSIS, PELICAN, and CULT OF LUNA, though a number of newer bands have risen to fame in metal and prog circles within the last 5 years like INTRONAUT, ROSETTA, and THE OCEAN COLLECTIVE.


--- Definition by Alex and Kevin and the Progressive Metal Team, February 2012 ---

The Progressive Metal Team
Karl (bonnek)
Kevin (Necroncommander)
Alex (Rune2000)
Thanos (aapatsos)
Dave (Prog Sothoth)
Louis (rdtprog)

Experimental/Post Metal Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Experimental/Post Metal | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.22 | 1524 ratings
LATERALUS
Tool
4.22 | 696 ratings
PART THE SECOND
Maudlin Of The Well
4.31 | 136 ratings
IMAGINARY SONICSCAPE
Sigh
4.19 | 653 ratings
TERRIA
Townsend, Devin
4.24 | 185 ratings
THROUGH SILVER IN BLOOD
Neurosis
4.20 | 324 ratings
LEAVING YOUR BODY MAP
Maudlin Of The Well
4.18 | 300 ratings
BATH
Maudlin Of The Well
4.13 | 699 ratings
JUDGEMENT
Anathema
4.15 | 379 ratings
THE MANTLE
Agalloch
4.13 | 583 ratings
ZILTOID THE OMNISCIENT
Townsend, Devin
4.16 | 266 ratings
IN A FLESH AQUARIUM
Unexpect
4.20 | 153 ratings
SOMEWHERE ALONG THE HIGHWAY
Cult Of Luna
4.14 | 319 ratings
FABLES OF THE SLEEPLESS EMPIRE
Unexpect
4.13 | 329 ratings
LIGHT OF DAY, DAY OF DARKNESS
Green Carnation
4.09 | 907 ratings
ĆNIMA
Tool
4.12 | 260 ratings
PANOPTICON
Isis
4.35 | 52 ratings
KHAOOOHS & KON-FUS-ION
Pan.Thy.Monium
4.17 | 116 ratings
THE PAINTER'S PALETTE
Ephel Duath
4.06 | 894 ratings
WE'RE HERE BECAUSE WE'RE HERE
Anathema
4.32 | 51 ratings
THE GALILEAN SATELLITES
Rosetta

Experimental/Post Metal overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Experimental/Post Metal experts team

GORDIAN KNOT
Gordian Knot
THE SECOND PHILOSOPHY
Nahemah
THIS GRAND SHOW
Grayceon
TERRAFORMING
Postman Syndrome, The

Latest Experimental/Post Metal Music Reviews


 Aeolian by OCEAN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.82 | 38 ratings

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Aeolian
The Ocean Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Aeolian" is the 2nd full-length studio album by German sludge/post metal/hardcore act The Ocean (sometimes referred to as The Ocean Collective). The album was released through Metal Blade Records in November 2005. "Aeolian" is the second part of a two album project that started with "Fluxion (2004)". As far as I understand the tracks for the two albums were written and recorded during the same sessions, but the band (or the label?) decided to release the most atmospheric and orchestral material on "Fluxion" and the more aggressive and direct material on "Aeolian".

...it's definitely an interesting approach and to my ears "Fluxion" started the project pretty successfully. "Aeolian" is definitely the harder edged ugly monster sibling. The level of aggression and the amount of chugging riffs are much higher on "Aeolian" than the case was on "Fluxion", and "Aeolian" is not at all as atmospheric or as sophisticated as "Fluxion" either (although not completely devoid of atmospheric moments). We're still dealing with fairly technical playing and complex compositions, but the emphasis is on aggression and heavy riffing. The vocals are predominantly raw and shouting type sludge/hardcore vocals. There are as many as 6 different vocalists who contribute to the album, so the vocal style also changes from deep semi-growling, to harsh hardcore screaming, to aggressive barking.

While all material on the 10 track, 55:32 minutes long album is well written and performed, there is a slight identity crisis heard throughout the album, and it's like The Ocean can't decide if they want to play metal or hardcore (there are several predominantly hardcore oriented tracks on the album). There's even a wiff of metalcore/melodic death metal featured at one point, so it's not a stylistically consistent release. Wether that's a weakness or a strength is up for discussion, but personally I found the band's adventurous approach to musical styles relatively intriguing, albeit not always equally successful. Highlights include "The City in the Sea" and "Inertia", which are the two tracks that bookends the album. Especially the latter is a great track, but all material on the album is of a good quality.

"Aeolian" features a well sounding and powerful production, which suits the material well and the musicianship is on a high level on all posts. So upon conclusion "Aeolian" is through and through a high quality release. Compared to it's sister release "Fluxion", "Aeolian" is slightly less interesting though, but a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is still deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Arrival by TRAPPIST SYSTEM TRIO album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Arrival
Trappist System Trio Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars The Russian experimental/post metal band 'Trappist System Trio' is one of those bands that sounds like it has been together for quite some time, however, they only released their debut album in 2019 called 'Arrival'. Right off the bat, this trio of Vladimir Kulikov (vocals, guitar), Dmitriy Prilukov (bass) and Evgeny Trfilove (drums) attack this album with a smart sounding, eclectic and heavy sound, that captures the listener right at the onset. It might be helped along by veteran progger Ivan Rozmainsky (Roz Vitalis) is a guest keyboardist for 3 of the tracks here, including 'The Enlightened', which is the track that instantly takes you by surprise at how 'together' the music sounds. But, when it comes down to it, Rozmainsky knows he is a guest, and is content to sit back and let the core trio prove their talent in this 8 minute opener. There is one problem with it all though. Kulikov is the vocalist, and his vocals are an acquired taste. In music like this, however, that might be a minor issue as everything else in this opening track is exactly what you want it to be. Heavy, quirky, a bit over-the-top in showmanship, but damn, this is an eye and ear opening track.

Well, that's all just great, but there are 8 other tracks to listen to here. Can this new band carry their weight through it all?

To make sure this band could pull off the one-two punch of rousing openers, Rozmainsky is utilized again in 'Shrine of Holes'. However, once again, his influence in this track seems minor, nothing like the more experimental and fusion sound of Roz Vitalis, and the keys are used more as foundation then anything else, thus allowing the 'sparse' instrumentation to take over. However, with only 3 people in the core band, it is amazing the level of heavy eclectic guitar prog that is evident here sound more like twice that number. Even though all of the songs after the first one stay around the 4-5 minute mark, each one still packs enough progressive energy and metal complexity to keep the proggers happy.

The vocals are still sounding like they will take some getting used to, but they do provide the over the top sound that is demanded in the music. The accent is heavy since the songs are in English, though the Russian inflection is there quite strongly. Nothing wrong with that, but the slightly quirky, sometimes off-key singing can be a slight factor here. The heavy riffs in 'Killing Pigeon' however will make you want to keep listening, even now that you are 3 songs into the album. The vocalist will also throw in a surprising emotional growl that usually takes the listener into a riveting guitar/bass/drum section that can blow the loose hairs off the top of your head with the energy coming out of your speakers.

'Lust and Found' and 'Zombie Thrush' come next in line, and these tracks were already released in an EP a year or two before this album was released. However, the songs fit right in with the heavy and eclectic sound. The latter brings in another Russian guest who has appeared on other Russian progressive albums, namely Leonid Perevalov, who brings his bass clarinet into the fray. It's a nice touch, and also reminds the listener that this is post metal, so expect a bit of a jazz touch to 'Zombie Thrush' added to the quirky sound of it all. This bass clarinet reappears along with more keys by Rozmainsky in the next track 'Dogmann'. Something else that needs to be mentioned here is the fact that the lyrics are a definite satirical take on the lyrics that are common in many metal albums. The lyrics are silly, but it's intentional, and you will know this if you listen closely to them in this track and the previous 'Killing Pigeon' and 'Zombie Thrush'. But, listening to the complex and progressive quirkiness of the instrumental power here lets you know the band is serious when it comes to talent.

'Cause and Defect' begins in the same quirky, heavy style, but is set apart by the instrumental break when things get extra noisy and chaotic. 'Clown within the Mask' features another guest keyboardist with Elena Feneva who adds a bit of synth atmosphere to the chorus of this track. There are also some excellent guitar and bass solos packed in the track along with a somewhat short, rhapsodic piano ending keeping things interesting. The album ends with 'Salt the Wound' which delivers that last quirky, progressive guitar punch needed to complete the album.

This is quite a fun and excellent album full of quirky progressiveness, heavy music, goofy, sarcastic lyrics and many a surprise packed in. The few problems have to do with the vocals which are a bit overly dramatic at times, not that that is a bad thing, but by the end of the album, you are wishing that a few of the tracks had been instrumentals to break it up a bit more. By the time you reach the final three tracks, the vocals are starting to wear on you a bit. The other issue is that the guests are a bit underutilized and should stand out a little more to give more depth to the music. The band really achieves this in 'Zombie Thrush' and 'Dogmann' with the bass clarinet, but the guest keyboardists are hardly even noticed. I understand that the band wants to emphasize their basic 3 person line up, but they could have still kept that balance and let more of the keys shine through when they were used. Otherwise, what's the point of adding them, really? These are minor issues, but all together, along with the 'acquired taste' needed for the vocals, this takes the album to a 4 star rating. But overall, it is strong enough to deserve more attention than what it has been getting.

Standout tracks are 'Enlightened', 'Zombie Thrush', 'Dogmann' 'Shrine of Holes' and 'Killing Pigeon' (in that order). Main issue: throw in some instrumental tracks and utilize guests better to add more depth. Excellent album.

 Naiv by THY CATAFALQUE album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.04 | 6 ratings

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Naiv
Thy Catafalque Experimental/Post Metal

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

4 stars THY CATALFALQUE is a project that's been around for quite a while now having formed all the way back in 1998 as a symphonic black metal band and then getting more experimental as time carried on by incorporating more external influences such as electronica and homegrown Hungarian folk music from founder Tamás Kátai's home nation before relocating to Scotland. The band which has essentially been Kátai and his sidekick guitarist Juhász János then released several albums as a duo up until 2011's "Rengeteg" when Kátai went it alone with only selected guest musicians for each album thereafter. The rotating cast of guests has made each THY CATALFALQUE album sound quite unique so it's never predictable as to which elements of music will dominate any particular album.

Early on in 2020, avant-garde metal band THY CATAFALQUE releases its ninth album NAIV. After the interesting changes of the doom metal drenched "Meta" and the overly abundant use of electronica and lack of metal on "Geometria," NAIV returns with a nice mixture of all the disparate elements that makes THY CATAFALQUE so utterly unique even within the vastly populated universe of modern metal. While long ago drifting away from any sort of black metal orthodoxies, this act has nonetheless never strayed too far from its roots by keeping a finger or two on the pulse of the primordial pools from whence it sprang forth. NAIV doesn't necessarily jettison the abundance of electronic effects and noises as heard on the previous album but rather returns some of the metal dominant bombast however any fan of this unique band should know by now, track by track, THY CATAFALQUE delivers the unpredictability of a schizophrenic seance.

Once again eschewing genre labels, NAIV like previous albums creates a unique fusion of the Hungarian folk melodies with black metal riffs, electronic atmosphere and also includes some surprising jazzy touches that remind me of bands like Norway's Shining. Kátai handles the expected vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards and other exotic instruments such as the citera and darbuka while a huge cast of characters joins him for this musical treat. In addition to the excepted bass and drums there are also two guest vocalists with the feminine charm of Martina Veronika Horváth (ex-Niburta, SallyAnne, Nulah) finding its way throughout most of the album. There are many classical instruments such as the cello, viola, violin and even classical guitar as well as many ethnic sounds from a quena flute, out and other Eastern European instruments. On the jazz side of things there are occasional outbursts of saxophone and even a trombone.

Starting out with black metal buzzsaw guitar effects, "A bolyongás ideje" launches NAIV straight into the realms of the metal universe unlike the rather tame predecessor "Geometria" which seemed to lounge in the chill electronica section of the music store for far too long. Despite the heavy bombast of the guitar riffs, the sensual female vocals and folk melodies craft a pacifying folk metal vibe with occasional outbursts of proggy keyboard runs that are straight out of the 70s symphonic prog playbook. While sounding a bit like an 80s AC/DC riff at the beginning, "Tsitsushka" actually takes on a cool atmospheric cloud cover while the guitars clammer away more akin to a caffeinated surf rock band than black metal but it gets even more estranged from the opener with the inclusion of a horn section. "Embersólyom" calms things down quite a bit with dark ambient sounds shrouding a mysterious flute emerging and then breaking into an electro-folk-rock groove which takes on a tango type of rhythmic drive.

"Számtalan színek" continues the ethnic flavors only sounds more like it's rooted in Balkan gypsy folk only with blistering black metal guitar accompaniments that when dropped out sounds more like a movie soundtrack. In many ways this style of black folk metal reminds me of Greece's Rotting Christ on some of the newer albums. The violin and viola presence on this one really sets it apart from the other tracks. "A valóság kazamatái" begins with a jittery computer generated sounding keyboard intro before bursting into hefty black metal bombast but it's accompanied by the folk melodies emerging from the keyboards. When the guitar parts are dropped the folk instruments stand out and the percussive drive begins to sound more like a bigbeat techno album. The layered effects are perfectly mixed and the sounds that come and go add the proper contrast at the exact perfect times.

"Kék madár (Négy kép)" takes the ethnic influences to the most extremes as this one sound like a gypsy wedding somewhere deep in Bosnia but then picks up with a bizarrely contrasting flute run that sounds more like 70s Focus than Jethro Tull along with electronica drumming styles and with no metal guitar sounds to be heard sounds like the project went Opeth on us and abandoned the metal altogether, at least temporarily. Actually they abandoned the rock altogether on this one as the track starts to sound like a heartbeat with flute. Luckily "Napút" brings back the metal heft but trades off with a more techno sound. It then gives the mic to Martina who add the ethnic touches. Nice beefy guitar sounds but at this stage of the game it's obvious that the metal guitars play a subordinate role to the ethnic and electronic sounds. However just as i say that "Vető" comes along and delivers the heaviest guitar sounds of all with thrashy palm muted beefcakes pounding away while Martina sings her little heart out. It's a nice contrast between the hyper-masculine and sensual feminine. Beauty and beast of a different name.

"Szélvész" ends the album on a more folk than metal note but the guitar heft does deliver. It's obvious at this stage of THY CATAFALQUE's lengthy career that the metal isn't the most important element of its sound and that it's all about juxtaposing disparate genres with the Hungarian folk elements being the most prominent. The magic of NAIV is in the production values and how well all these melodies are crafted into nice smorgasbord of sounds. While not substantially different than previous albums, this one seems to have catchier hooks, greater contrast between bombast and sensual touches and is just more satisfying than the lopsided feed of "Geometria" as all the elements unfold in an organic manner and nothing seems forced. Overall THY CATAFALQUE creates the perfect recipe where the gritty metal aspects sit well next to the timeless folk melodies and futuristic electronic and ambient sounds. Although this isn't primarily a metal album, the last track adds some of the only raspy black metal vocals to be heard. This is a solid album from beginning to end if you dig this sorta thing.

 Hangman's Hymn - Musikalische Exequien by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.96 | 35 ratings

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

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Hangman's Hymn: Musikalische Exequien" is the 7th full-length studio album by Japanese progressive/experimental metal act Sigh. The album was released through The End Records in June 2007. It´s the successor to "Gallows Gallery" from 2005 and not surprisingly the two albums sound very little alike (which would actually have been unusual as most Sigh are pretty different in style and sound).

"Gallows Gallery (2005)" saw Sigh play a twisted form of power/heavy metal with very few nods towards their black metal past, but "Hangman's Hymn: Musikalische Exequien" brings back the raw black metal vocal style and a slightly harder edged basic sound. Of course Sigh haven´t stagnated or gone back to the roots, as they are an ever changing and developing act, and this time around they are opted to challenge themselves by making a symphonic tinged black metal album. They´ve used symphonic elements before, and it´s been obvious on preceding releases too that lead vocalist/keyboard player Mirai Kawashima is a classically trained musician/composer, but on "Hangman's Hymn: Musikalische Exequien", Sigh go all in on the symphonic concept.

You would think with a band covering as much musical ground as Sigh manage to do, that they would fail once in a while, but listening to "Hangman's Hymn: Musikalische Exequien" it´s abundantly clear that it´s not this time around. Sigh pull off playing symphonic black metal with the same ease as they have managed to play raw and savage old school black metal, avant garde/progressive black metal, psychadelic progressive black metal, and power/heavy metal on their preceding releases.

The basis of Sigh´s sound is still guitars, bass, drums, and snarling blackened vocals, but "Hangman's Hymn: Musikalische Exequien" is loaded with symphonic orchestral keyboard arrangements and choirs, which work well with the raw backing. "Hangman's Hymn: Musikalische Exequien" is a concept release divided into three parts, and the overall theme is religious (God, Satan, good vs evil type story), with use of bits and pieces from "Requiem" (liturgical service of the Roman Catholic Church).

Upon conclusion "Hangman's Hymn: Musikalische Exequien" is yet another bold, creative, and adventurous release by Sigh. Clever songwriting, powerful delivery of the music, and a professional and detailed sound production, which suits the material perfectly. It´s through and through a high quality release and a 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Half Light Souvenirs by DARK SUNS album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.19 | 9 ratings

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Half Light Souvenirs
Dark Suns Experimental/Post Metal

Review by alainPP

3 stars DARK SUNS is a German group of progressive metal that has even worked on his debut in the genre doom on "Swanlike" in 2002. His pedigree in my opinion has quickly evolved into prog metal in SUPERIOR, to OPETH, to PAIN OF SALVATION and to specific phases of PINK FLOYD or MARILLION, ie their creative space. Their "Existence" 2005 remains for me one of the year's slaps as "Grave Human Genuine" three years later: the time of the last prog revival of the decade made integrating numerous subgenres in which is now considered PROG. This album is their sixth even if it is only one EP, making an appearance every three years.

Let's fact it returns in "Unmade Bed Her 'hand on a fast pace almost prog pop with a catchy chorus and a voice very / too clear to me that bothers me a little; a break with sax and piano comes clear counter this fleeting sensation. "How We Got Lost" continues with an intro redolent LED ZEPPELIN notes to leave on a pace slightly heavier, even for voice, it's still pop psychedelic moments with an omnipresent organ synth and a guitar not enough promote; the organ bringing to vintage sounds nice. "Trillianthem" is in the same vein but with a modern developed weirdest with battery front brings a purely enjoyable development, prog or music as I love, lost in the sounds; there is the pop 60s moments to leave halfway through an explosion of notes too quickly extinguished frustrating limit, then it goes again in a more measured with a more catchy voice finally, 7 minutes of pure happiness! And the good thing is that it reminds me of the great years of this largely unknown group what PAIN OF SALVATION! It's varied, it's catchy, it's good, even if it's not the DARK SUNS I knew! "In Reserve 'hand on a low ambient rating with a voice phrased again pulling up, it's almost monolithic, depressing, a little piano DOORS, it lacks pep given what they could out and it's not the sax welcome by its originality that advances such, unless I tell myself that it might be another group that I chronicle. "My Sermon" ends this EP with a bit more in their original pedigree, there is Haken, the TESSERACT in even though these groups are well subsequent to DARK SUNS! It contains a synth catchy, a trained voice, less monotonous, energetic guitar riff, a latent atmosphere with hints of basic piano and clear at once; the rhythm is growing over this long song, the voice becomes rocky death limit the synth becomes mesmerizing, there are even a few moments a little RIVERSIDE it, then it falls back slowly but in a structured way in a quiet end, soft, soothing too fast. less monotonous, energetic guitar riff, a latent atmosphere with a few piano notes basic and clear at once; the rhythm is growing over this long song, the voice becomes rocky death limit the synth becomes mesmerizing, there are even a few moments a little RIVERSIDE it, then it falls back slowly but in a structured way in a quiet end, soft, soothing too fast. less monotonous, energetic guitar riff, a latent atmosphere with a few piano notes basic and clear at once; the rhythm is growing over this long song, the voice becomes rocky death limit the synth becomes mesmerizing, there are even a few moments a little RIVERSIDE it, then it falls back slowly but in a structured way in a quiet end, soft, soothing too fast.

What about this EP? There will be something for everyone, that those who do not know may find the album fresh, dynamic and innovative strand with instrumental keys in the middle of the verses. Let those who follow them since their early risk them being disoriented by the change of tone, direction given to their music, it seems ... another group! Is it on purpose, looking for a real musical evolution? I ask, hoping secretly find the style of the last song for their next real album.

 Gallows Gallery by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.79 | 42 ratings

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Gallows Gallery
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Gallows Gallery" is the 6th full-length studio album by Japanese progressive/experimental metal act Sigh. The album was released through Candlelight Records/Baphomet Records in October 2005. It's the successor to "Imaginary Sonicscape" from 2001 and there's been one lineup change since the predecessor as drummer Satoshi Fujinami plays bass and guitars on this album, and new drummer Junichi Harashima has been added to the lineup. The remaining part of the lineup are Mirai Kawashima (vocals, keyboards, organs, sampling...etc.) and Shinichi Ishikawa (guitars).

But it's not so much the lineup changes which make the headlines here, as "Gallows Gallery" is yet another left-turn stylistic change from Sigh. If you're familiar with the preceding releases in the band's discography you'll know that Sigh have pretty much changed musical style between each of their releases. To begin with little changes between releases and gradually much bigger changes between albums...culminating in the release of the avant garde, psychadelic, atmospheric heavy metal album "Imaginary Sonicscape (2001)", which is as weird as it is exciting. If you thought Sigh would continue down that road on "Gallows Gallery", I can tell you, that you have another thing coming...

...because suddenly it seems like Sigh have decided to release a power/heavy metal album. Gone are the harsh blackened vocals from their past releases, and instead the vocals are clean, and there are harmonies and choirs. The vocals aren't angelic clean or high pitched though, but more akin to for example the vocals on a Running Wild album. So they are still relatively raw and not necessarily what many would label pretty. The strong Japanese accent also add something different to the vocals, and personally I find the accented vocals quite charming, but I can understand those who wouldn't be able to appreciate them.

While the primary music style on "Gallows Gallery" is power/heavy metal, this is a Sigh album, and not surprisingly the band twist conventions and explore boundaries of the power/heavy metal genre, so while there are many recognisable power/heavy metal elements featured here, you have probably never heard an album in the genre which even remotely sounds like this. Drums, bass, guitar, and vocals, are complimented by the use of various keyboards, synths, and organs (and some other instruments like Gong, Sitar, and Tibetan Bells), and a generally very adventurous approach to songwriting. The material are well written, catchy, and energetic, but some tracks sound a bit the same (the melody lines are similar as are the riff style and rhythms), but the band do incorporate some surprises to keep the album varied (an example is the slow, atmospheric, and psychadelic tinged "The Tranquilizer Song").

"Gallows Gallery" features high level musicianship and a decent quality sound production (a bit thin sounding, but still decent), and upon conclusion it's another high quality release by Sigh, who must be praised both for their boldness and for their complete disregard for genre conventions and expectations from their fans. The fans are of course by now used to expecting the unexpected, but you still have to be a very open-minded music listener to be able to appreciate such major musical changes between releases. Those who have stuck by the band through their many transitions, will probably stick by them on this release too and be rewarded for their loyalty, because "Gallows Gallery" is a grower and while it is very different from anything Sigh have released before, this is still unmistakably the sound of Sigh. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Waltzing in Obscurity by NOEKK album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.97 | 4 ratings

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Waltzing in Obscurity
Noekk Experimental/Post Metal

Review by alainPP

4 stars NOEKK is a group of dark-ambient-sounding prog doom and metal that was built on the ashes of the deceased Empyrium, which made her a dark folk-ambient-symphony of beauty, including the famous "Weiland" 2002 ; But that was before. Yugoth and Baldachin, better known under the name Schwadorf and Helm, showcase their love for the land and the Hard Rock Prog Rock with NOEKK. Nature is the wanderings of the center of two friends, inspired by the poems of Peter Wolfgang Kassel adding a dark climate, austere, cold, cold, gothic, on the edge of melancholy and shoals or shallows human, everything depends on your mood. Here no sprawling virtuosity (nod to the Old Gods such Cthulhu), but a spontaneity in the development of 'gloomy atmospheres. Note also a 60-page booklet with paintings and poems to delve more in this prog-meditative atmosphere. FYI also remember that NOEKK have been linked to an aquatic creature changing into white horse for worse! Known from their first album "The Water Sprite" from 2005 with this footprint so characteristic, tacking between the Empyrium, VISION BLEAK, the Autumnblaze, the LACRIMOSA and ANATHEMA in their darkest productions of KING CRIMSON and GENESIS origins , and of tHE CURE DEAD CAN DANCE in their most cold-wave turns, short, NOEKK summarizes the essence of the meeting doom-gothic-bathmat-pastoral-dark-prog, no less! It left for delving into this 4th album (5 if you count the EP in 2018), an album that concept to think. FYI also remember that NOEKK have been linked to an aquatic creature changing into white horse for worse! Known from their first album "The Water Sprite" from 2005 with this footprint so characteristic, tacking between the Empyrium, VISION BLEAK, the Autumnblaze, the LACRIMOSA and ANATHEMA in their darkest productions of KING CRIMSON and GENESIS origins , and of tHE CURE DEAD CAN DANCE in their most cold-wave turns, short, NOEKK summarizes the essence of the meeting doom-gothic-bathmat-pastoral-dark- prog, no less! It left for delving into this 4th album (5 if you count the EP in 2018), an album that concept to think. FYI also remember that NOEKK have been linked to an aquatic creature changing into white horse for worse! Known from their first album "The Water Sprite" from 2005 with this footprint so characteristic, tacking between the Empyrium, VISION BLEAK, the Autumnblaze, the LACRIMOSA and ANATHEMA in their darkest productions of KING CRIMSON and GENESIS origins , and of tHE CURE DEAD CAN DANCE in their most cold-wave turns, short, NOEKK summarizes the essence of the meeting doom-gothic-bathmat-pastoral-dark-prog, no less! It left for delving into this 4th album (5 if you count the EP in 2018), an album that concept to think. the BLEAK VISION, the Autumnblaze, the LACRIMOSA and ANATHEMA in their darkest productions of KING CRIMSON and GENESIS the origins, THE CURE and DEAD CAN DANCE in their most cold-wave turns, short, NOEKK synthesizes quintessence of the meeting doom- gothic-bathmat-pastoral-dark-prog, no less! It left for delving into this 4th album (5 if you count the EP in 2018), an album that concept to think. the BLEAK VISION, the Autumnblaze, the LACRIMOSA and ANATHEMA in their darkest productions of KING CRIMSON and GENESIS the origins, THE CURE and DEAD CAN DANCE in their most cold-wave turns, short, NOEKK synthesizes quintessence of the meeting doom-gothic-bathmat-pastoral-dark-prog, no less! It left for delving into this 4th album (5 if you count the EP in 2018), an album that concept to think.

"Waltzing In Obscurity" opens the dance with flute intro to TANGERINE DREAM or the POPOL VUH; it's beautiful and sinister to the advanced with bass and vocals, all guided by an organ beyond the grave; Voice puts it hers to ring in a dark atmosphere, the guitar from an abysmal clarity darken the purified air; flute of the first stirrings of GENESIS strengthens its NOEKK and the end riff. "Perseus" is based on this characteristic voice of the group, some spleenante, a little nagging, but very warm; riff, synth basic to Bontempi, on GARY NUMAN, battery, cathedral choirs, preaching, everything is there to enchant you! "The Mirror" or the resurrection of THE CURE for a title watered and latency prog from 2 minutes our memory also remembers THE STRANGLERS, ie; acoustic takes on its charm, the progressive award born with very little in the end. "The Giant" with playful piano, harpsichord DEAD CAN DANCE, nervous guitar riffs, piano and guitar tune pretend narrating a children's story for a title for the NOEKK, as almost pop moments with a mesmerizing voice. "We Summits" follows with crimsonienne atmosphere and zappaienne; the voice and the air even flirt with the dark hours of DEPECHE MODE, then it is a voice that is almost hard with added guitar riff and takes over. "Mortlach" for me Amateur whiskeys, do not leave me indifferent especially since it's an instrumental on leaving the cold-wave gay and depressed. One of the qualities of style NOEKK, synth ambience, yet gentle flute and acoustic guitar, all with hammering of the battery. "The Windwaker" occurs with a more gothic as where the coldness melts our feelings, we feel happy at the beginning THE CURE, the riff again mesmerizing; the flute is wonderful. "The Secret Beaker" for a title almost pop-cold, a typical sound with synth, vocals, organ, acoustic guitar and drums, melancholic icy ballad just to breathe and listen to "The Lily Of Reverence 'last title may be the most rhythmical and atmosphere glaucosity almost feel it mold in it, the voice is more present, darker, the riffs pretend to give here all he can to bewitch us one last time. the riff again mesmerizing; the flute is wonderful. "The Secret Beaker" for a title almost pop-cold, a typical sound with synth, vocals, organ, acoustic guitar and drums, melancholic icy ballad just to breathe and listen to "The Lily Of Reverence 'last title may be the most rhythmical and atmosphere glaucosity almost feel it mold in it, the voice is more present, darker, the riffs pretend to give here all he can to bewitch us one last time. the riff again mesmerizing; the flute is wonderful. "The Secret Beaker" for a title almost pop-cold, a typical sound with synth, vocals, organ, acoustic guitar and drums, melancholic icy ballad just to breathe and listen to "The Lily Of Reverence 'last title may be the most rhythmical and atmosphere glaucosity almost feel it mold in it, the voice is more present, darker, the riffs pretend to give here all he can to bewitch us one last time.

NOEKK knew, after 10 years of gestation, birth of a pure beauty dark album, an album where the atmosphere is drawn to the dark through riffs and where music also seems more open and diversified; this album could have been a concept album with songs chained taking you even further on distant and meditative paths of knowledge. NOEKK has mellowed and synthesized the very substance of his own music for a simple and memorable.

 The August Engine by HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.87 | 23 ratings

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The August Engine
Hammers Of Misfortune Experimental/Post Metal

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

4 stars After making a splash in the world of progressive metal with its debut album "The Bastard," the San Francisco based HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE led by guitarist John Cobbett began writing an even more ambitious rock opera that was supposed to rival or exceed the grandiosity of an epic tale such as Pink Floyd's "The Wall" but the record companies who release these albums simply were not having it and Cobbett and his project were forced to start from scratch when crafting a sophomore release. The result of taking a new approach led them to the musical workouts that would appear on THE AUGUST ENGINE which while not quite as ambitious as what had been planned still ended up as a concept album that revolved around a continued conversation between the microcosm and the macrocosm and how each individual in society amounts to being a mere cog in a greater design that is referred to by the title.

Well, ok then! Concept albums are fun and often nebulous in the philosophical wankery but the good thing about albums like THE AUGUST ENGINE is that the themes lend a lot to the listener's interpretation. While "The Bastard" was basically set up like an rock opera in three acts, THE AUGUST ENGINE is basically the sum of the parts of seven disparate tracks that borrowed a lot from the debut's sound such as the classic Lord Weird Slough Feg heavy metal that guitarist / vocalist Mike Scalzi brought to the table as well as the folk elements but this time around the folk is less medieval sounding and the progressive aspects have been turned up making this album seem much more like a progressive metal album than the debut. Despite the more daring compositional twists and turns and time signature zigzagging, THE AUGUST ENGINE retains the heavy metal bombast of the debut.

The instrumentation on "The Bastard" was performed only by four musicians: John Cobbett (guitar, producer), Mike Scalzi (guitar, vocals), Janis Tanaka (bass, vocals) and Chewy Marzolo (drums). THE AUGUST ENGINE found the same lineup with three extra musicians on "Rainfall" which included extra vocals, violin and cello. No credits for keyboards are presented but there are a few piano runs but the keys haven't been fully integrated like they would be on the band's following album "The Locust" which added the extra elements needed to make HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE feel like a bona fide prog metal band. The metal and folk elements tended to trade off on the debut while on THE AUGUST ENGINE they have become more integrated with alterations between the two as well as simultaneous weavings of the two styles. Same goes with the vocals of Scalzi and Tanaka who compliment each other's harmonies as often as they take the lead. The guitar runs are much more adventurous this time around with just as many long-winded space rock styled solos set in metal fashion as well as the expected crunchy riffing sections.

HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE succeeds in crafting a worthy epic sounding album after it's magnanimous perfect debut but in many ways THE AUGUST ENGINE sounds more like a transition between the prog laced metal and folk interludes of the debut album and the full-fire prog assaults of the following "The Locust" however the album instills its own charm and works for what it is and also established the band as one that would not be happy simply repeating what came before and displayed a true passion for progressing beyond what had been established before. Given the fact that "The Bastard" took the idea to its logical conclusion on the first try meant the band had to seek out a slightly different path and THE AUGUST ENGINE displays the band taking on more progressive workouts with sludgy thrash metal riffs that wouldn't sound out of place on an early Mastodon album along with the classic 80s heavy metal sounds as well as atmospheric moments that remind of atmospheric black metal and even moments of doom metal. Even the folk is darker this time around as the flavors of the Renaissance had been completely abandoned in favor of a darker more sinister vibe.

To be honest, i've had a hard time warming up to THE AUGUST ENGINE as i find the debut and the following album to be superior but i have found this to be a personal choice and after giving this several spins i have to admit that despite my preference for the other albums, THE AUGUST ENGINE is nevertheless a very professional sounding album that exceeds on many levels even if not taking things to the places i would prefer they go. The vocal team of Scialzi and Tanaka create beautiful melodic harmonies that sweeten the fast tempo metal assaults and doomy dirge effects along with the soaring guitars that pacify the pounding bass and drum action. The folk elements are scarcer on this second album however "Rainfall" is completely in the realms of dark folk and the beautiful intro on "Insect" shows how tastefully the band had steered these sounds into a darker arena. Ever so often such as on "Doomed Parade" a few medieval tinged moments do emerge. Once again the tracks are not overweeningly lengthy for the most part. Only the title track "Part 2" which nears nine minutes and the 11 minute "The Trial And The Grave" deliver extended prog formats. THE AUGUST ENGINE is a worthy followup to the perfection of "The Bastard" and although doesn't quite hit that high mark, is still an excellent slice of progressive metal that sounds like no other.

 The Bastard by HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.95 | 17 ratings

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The Bastard
Hammers Of Misfortune Experimental/Post Metal

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

5 stars The progressive metal band HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE actually got its start way back in mid-90s San Francisco under the name Unholy Cadaver which consisted of only guitarist John Corbett and drummer Chewy Marzolo who also shared vocals. The project then took on new life as new musicians joined the ranks. The first was Mike Scalzi better known as the vocalist / guitarist of another legendary San Francisco band, The Lord Weird Slough Feg. The trio practiced and recorded a lot of demo material, none of which would end up on the future projects of HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE, a name that was adopted in the year 2000 from one of the track titles. While the demo material would be scrapped and later released in 2011 as an archival release under the moniker Unholy Cadaver, as HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE, the trio welcomed bassist and vocalist Janis Tanaka to the club and set out to record a new more interesting progressive form of metal.

The band's first album THE BASTARD (often with a the subtitle "A Tale Told In Three Acts") was quite the undertaking and an adventurous journey in the form of a metal opera that takes place in three acts much like a Shakespearean play or some other epic tale that requires an expansive narrative to convey, however THE BASTARD was not released as some ridiculous sprawling three disc set or anything of the sort. The band had the good sense to keep this an album's length and at a normal playing time of 46 minutes, it hits all the high notes without a lot of fluff which makes this a pretty decent start for this eclectic band that would change its sound dramatically on each album throughout its career. It's worth noting that despite the excellent production that graces THE BASTARD, this entire album was simply recorded in a rehearsal studio on an 8-track analog machine in San Francisco from July 1999 to February 2000. The album itself didn't emerge until 2001 but got rave reviews from the metal world and put HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE on the metal radar right from the start.

While considered a progressive metal album, this isn't the kind of stuff Dream Theater or Symphony X were cranking out. THE BASTARD was an unholy union of traditional 80s heavy metal along with what sounds like medieval English folk music however the band does manage to tease in more progressive elements and extended proggy fills. Upon first listen i was wondering why the singer sounded so familiar as did some of the guitar riffs and then it became clear that it was because of the Scalzi connection as the Slough Feg sound is strewn throughout the album's run. Basically what THE BASTARD excels in as the narrative unfolds is basically alternate between beefy metal guitar riffs, beefy bass chops and stellar drumming narrative with the male vocals and then follows with the contrast of more light and airy folk sounds with the female vocal charm of Janis Tanaka who also plays some pretty tight bass. The connecting tissue that binds the two disparate styles is where the progressive runs tend to gravitate along with an occasional solo. At times the metal drifts into power metal territory and also an occasional black metal moment.

The album consists of three acts and fourteen tracks but for the most part the tracks run together and it's impossible to distinguish them from each other as the melodies simply carry over and the song sort of drifts into a new one as the storyline proceeds. Exceptions occur when abrupt changes such as the bombastic metal heft of "Tyrant Dies" completely ends and the gleeful mandolin folk cheer of "The Witch's Dance" follows. The continuity is really quite well laid out as the tracks capture all the essence of a rock your socks off heavy metal album but also cools off with exquisitely sublime moments of medieval folk music as if you left the metal concert and walked into the Renaissance fair. The brevity of the tracks is the album's greatest strength as THE BASTARD never lags in overblown pompous cycles that many rock opera's suffer from. Only the grande finale "Sacrifice The End" has a lengthy playing time near nine minutes and as a result is the most progressive with many differing movements, tones, timbres and elements of surprise.

Everything about this album works quite well actually. The musicianship is outstanding. The cleverly crafted compositions are all interesting by both keeping a unified feel of the entire album yet adding different elements to give each track its own personality. The contrasting vocal styles of Tanaka and Scalzi are perfectly matched and the progressive elements are tastefully woven into the big picture instead of simply adding proggy workouts for their own sake. Best of all this is metal that you can bang your head to. The metal is the real deal but the down time is quite welcome and beautifully performed. The band mastered both the metal and folk aspects perfectly and yet somehow found a perfect way to meld it altogether and craft a concept album that runs as tightly as some classical score from the distant past. Add to that the fiery passion of all the performers and this one is a true winner and perhaps my favorite HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE album of all as this one has most energetic deliveries. This was a surprise coming to this after the more famous albums that follow but i love this one a lot better. There are no weaknesses on this at all.

 Imaginary Sonicscape by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.31 | 136 ratings

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Imaginary Sonicscape
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Imaginary Sonicscape" is the 5th full-length studio album by Japanese progressive/experimental metal act Sigh. The album was released through Century Media Records in July 2001. It's Sigh's first release on the label after they left Cacophonous Records, as a consequence of what the band felt was bad promotion for "Scenario IV: Dread Dreams (1999)". The three-piece lineup who recorded the predecessor is intact on "Imaginary Sonicscape".

Although Sigh originally started out as a black metal act, they soon began to experiment with their sound and the last couple of preceding releases have been increasingly progressive/experimental. "Imaginary Sonicscape" tops them all though as Sigh take their adventurous songwriting approach to new creative heights. The basis in the music is fairly traditional heavy metal riffs/leads/harmonies and rhythms, and Mirai Kawashima's snarling raspy vocals in front. The latter is the only feature on the album, which links the music on "Imaginary Sonicscape" to the band's black metal past, because nothing else on the album is extreme metal related in any way.

While the heavy metal elements in the music are relatively traditional in nature, the band make sure that everything else on the album is challenging to the listener. There is omnipresent use of vintage keyboards/synths/organs and additional features like ghostly choirs, percussion, the odd programmed/electronic section, saxophone, and atmospheres which range from eerie darkness to almost sunshine psychadelic happiness ("A Sunset Song" is an example of the latter mood). The use of classical music themes and orchestral sections are also quite dominant in the soundscape. It's not an easy listen and most listener's will probably need more than one listen to decide what they think of the album. The tracks and the album in general take many left-turns along the way, and the listener is kept on his/her toes throughout the 63:35 minutes long playing time.

The musicianship is strong and while everything is performed with great skill and precision, Sigh generally perform their music with a great organic touch, which is further enhanced by the organic sounding production. The songwriting is on a very high level, and it's obvious Kawashima has some classical music education/training, because the keyboard arrangements and the keyboard performances in general are seldom heard this sophisticated in heavy metal music.

"Imaginary Sonicscape" is for the open-minded heavy metal listener, and there is no guarantee this is something a lot of people will enjoy. It's probably very much an aquired taste, even for fans of the band. Expect the unexpected and you won't be dissapointed. Personally I think the experiments sometime make the album a bit incoherrent, and some tracks feel like they lack direction, like the band just added sections/elements they felt were interesting to add without thinking about the big picture. Knowing the musical genius of Kawashima I'm sure that's not true though, and I'm sure the output is exactly what Sigh had in mind. My personal feelings aside this is still a high quality release and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Data cached

Experimental/Post Metal bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
*SHELS United States
11 AS IN ADVERSARIES France
19 A.D.D. United States
21 EYES OF RUBY Netherlands
THE 3RD AND THE MORTAL Norway
413 United States
5IVE United States
6:33 France
A((WAKE)) United States
AABSINTHE France
ABANDON Sweden
ABYSSE France
ACROSS TUNDRAS United States
ACYL France
ADMIRAL BROWNING United States
ADRIFT Spain
AFTER MY OWN United States
AGALLOCH United States
AGES GONE Germany
AKPHAEZYA France
AKROMA France
ALASKAN Canada
ALCEST France
ALTAR OF PLAGUES Ireland
AMARA United States
AMATERAZU Portugal
AMBEON Netherlands
AMENRA Belgium
AMESOEURS France
AMIA VENERA LANDSCAPE Italy
ANATHEMA United Kingdom
ANCESTORS United States
AND HARMONY DIES Italy
ANGEL EYES United States
ANTIGUA Y BARBUDA Spain
ANTIMATTER Multi-National
ANUBI Lithuania
AORIA Sweden
APOCALIPSIS Mexico
APOCRYPHAL VOICE Finland
APOKATASTASIA Switzerland
APSE United States
ARCADE MESSIAH United Kingdom
THE ARKITECHT Mexico
ARKTIKA Germany
AS LIGHT DIES Spain
ASIDEFROMADAY France
ASPIRATION Norway
ASTROHENGE United Kingdom
ASTRONAUT DOWN United States
AT THE SOUNDAWN Italy
THE ATLAS MOTH United States
ATMOSPHERES Belgium
THE ATOMIC BOMB AUDITION United States
ATROX Norway
AUSSITÔT MORT France
AUSTARAS United States
THE AXIS OF PERDITION United Kingdom
AZIOLA CRY United States
BACK WHEN United States
BAK Australia
BARONESS United States
BAT CASTLE United States
BATTLE OF MICE United States
BATTLEFIELDS United States
BAUDA Chile
BEAK United States
BEECHER United Kingdom
BEFORE THE EYEWALL United States
BEHIND THE SUN Israel
BEING United States
ADRIAN BENAVIDES United States
BIRUSHANAH Japan
BISON B.C. Canada
IVAR BJŘRNSON & EINAR SELVIK Norway
BLACK MATH HORSEMAN United States
BLACK SEA Brazil
BLACK SHEEP WALL United States
BLACKWAVES Germany
BLINDEAD Poland
BLOOD & TIME United States
BLOODWAY Romania
BLUT AUS NORD France
BOBEL Costa Rica
BOSSK United Kingdom
BOTANIST United States
BRAIN TENTACLES United States
BRIDGES TO DREAMS Canada
BUNKUR Netherlands
BURIED INSIDE Canada
BURN DOWN ROME United Kingdom
BURWEED Finland
BUTTERFLY TRAJECTORY Poland
CAINA United Kingdom
CALDERA France
CALLISTO Finland
THE CANCER CONSPIRACY United States
CANDIRIA United States
CAPRICORNS United Kingdom
CAPTURE THE SUN United States
CARNIVAL IN COAL France
CARONTTE Spain
CATACOMBE Portugal
CAVE IN United States
CELEBRITY SEX SCANDAL United States
CELESTINE Iceland
CEREUS Poland
CHASE THE SUNSET United Kingdom
THE CHRONICLES OF ISRAFEL Canada
CHRYST Austria
THE CIRCLE ENDS HERE Italy
CIRUELO CILINDRICO Spain
CLERIC United States
CLOUDKICKER United States
COALESCE United States
COLD BODY RADIATION Netherlands
A COLD DEAD BODY Italy
COLDWORLD Germany
COLONEL PETROV'S GOOD JUDGEMENT Germany
COME SLEEP Sweden
COMITY France
CONIFER United States
CONSECRATION Serbia
CORMORANT United States
COSMONAUTS DAY Russia
COUNTERVELA Ireland
CRIB45 Finland
CULT OF LUNA Sweden
D.U.N.E. Italy
DAKRYA Greece
DAMASCUS United States
DARK CASTLE United States
DARK SUNS Germany
DARKESTRAH Germany
DARKSPACE Switzerland
DAUGHTERS OF FISSION United States
DAY WITHOUT DAWN United States
DE OMEGA United States
DEADBIRD United States
DEADSOUL TRIBE United States
DEAFHEAVEN United States
THE DEATH OF HER MONEY United Kingdom
DECORTICA New Zealand
DEEP IN THOUGHT Germany
DEFYING Poland
DETERIOR United States
DEVIL SOLD HIS SOUL United Kingdom
DIESTO United States
DIGRESSION ASSASSINS Sweden
DIRGE France
DISAPPEARER United States
DIVINA ENEMA Belarus
DŘDSVERK Norway
DORNENREICH Austria
DOTZAUER Italy
DR. SLAGGLEBERRY United Kingdom
DRAWN Norway
DREARE Czech Republic
DREARINESS Italy
DYING SUN United States
EARTH United States
EAST OF THE WALL United States
EBONY LAKE United Kingdom
ECHOES United Kingdom
ECHOES OF YUL Poland
ECHOSILENCE Estonia
EDGE OF REALITY United States
EGOIST Poland
EHNAHRE United States
EIGENGRAU Denmark
EIGHT BELLS United States
EINNA France
ELLIPSIS France
EMPIRES United States
EMPTY YARD EXPERIMENT United Arab Emirates
ENDER New Zealand
ENDNAME Russia
EPHEL DUATH Italy
EPISTASIS United States
ETERNAL DEFORMITY Poland
ETHERSENS France
EVIL INSIDE Spain
EX CURIA Australia
EX EYE United States
EXOTIC ANIMAL PETTING ZOO United States
EXTINCTION ALGORITHM Romania
FALL OF EFRAFA United Kingdom
FALLOCH United Kingdom
FALLS OF RAUROS United States
FEN United Kingdom
FIRMAM3NT Spain
FLEURETY Norway
FLOOD THE DESERT United States
FOLLOW THE WHITE RABBIT Russia
A FOREST OF STARS United Kingdom
FORMLOFF Norway
FOUNTAINHEAD Germany
FROM OCEANS TO AUTUMN United States
FUTURIAN Canada
THE GABRIEL CONSTRUCT United States
GANON United States
GARDEN OF SHADOWS United States
GARY SUICIDAL KIDS COMMANDO France
THE GATHERING Netherlands
GENERATION OF VIPERS United States
GENGHIS TRON United States
GIANT SQUID United States
GIGANTIC BRAIN United States
GIRE Hungary
GLETSCHER Switzerland
GNAW THEIR TONGUES Netherlands
GODSEND Norway
GONIN-ISH Japan
GORDIAN KNOT United States
GOSPEL United States
GRAAL (UKR) Ukraine
THE GRASSHOPPER LIES HEAVY United States
GRAVITON United States
GRAYCEON United States
THE GREAT OLD ONES France
GREEN CARNATION Norway
HAIKU FUNERAL Multi-National
HAIL SPIRIT NOIR Greece
HALCYON Australia
HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE United States
HAND United Kingdom
HARVEY MILK United States
HEIRS Australia
HELIUM HORSE FLY Belgium
HELLAS MOUNDS United States
HERETOIR Germany
HESPERIAN DEATH HORSE Croatia
HIPOSPADIA Spain
HUMANFLY United Kingdom
HVŘSCH Russia
HYDRA Mexico
HYPNO5E France
IDENTIFIED United States
IDIOT SAINT CRAZY France
IGORRR France
THE ILLNESS United States
IN THE WOODS... Norway
IN.OVO Canada
INCOMING CEREBRAL OVERDRIVE Italy
INDUKTI Poland
INTER ARMA United States
INTRONAUT United States
IO United Kingdom
ION United States
IREPRESS United States
IRONWOOD Australia
IRREVERSIBLE United States
ISIS United States
ISTHMUS United States
IZAH Netherlands
JAKEL Canada
JANVS Italy
JESU United Kingdom
JEWY SABATAY Serbia
OLIVER KAAH Finland
KAILASH Italy
KALKI AVATARA Italy
KARABOUDJAN Sweden
KEELHAUL United States
KEKAL Indonesia
KHANATE United States
KHEMEĎA France
KHOMA Sweden
KHÔRADA United States
KHUDA United Kingdom
KICK THE BUTTERFLY Australia
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