Sigh
Hangman's Hymn


4.5
superb

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
May 31st, 2007 | 327 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: German symphonies meet thrash metal in an avant-black environment. A serious contender for album of the year.

Scorn Defeat.
Infidel Art
Ghastly Funeral Theater
Hail Horror Hail
Scenario IV: Dead Dreams
Imaginary Sonicscape
Gallow's Gallery
Hangman's Hymn

Right off the bat, readers of this review should be made aware that Sigh is no ordinary band. They do not understand how to half-ass their albums and they've never scraped by. They go the extra mile to evolve their sound and never release the same album twice, and have long-since gone above and beyond the genre they were initially lumped into. Do not call Sigh a black metal band; it's unfair to them as well as the genre. Sigh has, by this point, evolved beyond the restraints of a singular genre.

Though they started off playing what could be interpreted as a pure black metal, Sigh have since been aggravating anyone possessed with the task of labelling them. Most recently, they released a highly upbeat album in "Gallows Gallery", which added a playful, almost power metal like twist to a psychedelic metal sound. "Imaginary Sonicscape", inarguably the band's magnum opus, is truly a pinnacle of psychedelic metal, and deserves points purely for making a brief reggae passage fit perfectly amongst the masterful piano playing and tortured screams. Obviously the group is not without foundation, but yet they somehow possess the ability to herald so many different styles, eras and ideas all the while creating a wholly unique and identifiable experience. Enter 2007, and one of my most (if not my most) anticipated releases of the year has arrived. Enter "Hangman's Hymn".

Much like every album they've done, "Hangman's Hymn" has its own unique sound. When work on the album was announced, Mirai & Co. stated two things. Firstly, they said the album could be described in four words: fast, heavy, bombastic and majestic. Beyond that, Mirai went onto explain that the album would play out, sonically, with a thrash-metal-meets-German-symphonies twist. He was right. In sound, the album definitely mixes symphonies with trashy tempos, all the while retaining the band's trademark Celtic Frost/Mercyful Fate foundation. And then there are the vocals.

The vocals on the album deserve their own paragraph. Really, they're that good. "Gallows Gallery", the group's 2005 release, was pretty good vocally. It was entirely clean sung, and featured excellent use of the vocoder. To be honest, harsh vocals would not have worked on that album, but they were missed nonetheless. Luckily, harsh vocals are definitely appropriate for this album, and to the gleeful surprise of many, Mirai's blackened shriek is at an all time best. It's absolutely vicious, yet on the whole fairly distinguishable. Amidst the harsh scowls you'll find everything from demonic laughter (reminiscent of the legendary King Diamond), and even some of the higher ranged vocals found aplenty on "Gallows Gallery", though obviously without the vocoder. All of these come together with the addition of choirs, sparsely used only when appropriate, and in a neat twist, excellently performed almost exclusively by members of the band's official web-community.

The Gregorian styled choirs are as haunting as can be, instantly evoking shades of Jerry Goldsmith's legendary Ave Satani, which many will hopefully remember from 1976's "The Omen". The semi-spoken passages found on the album are excerpts from the Requiem Mass, and carry the partial concept of the album along.

As well as tying the album together thematically, the choirs also add to one of the many moods found on the album. At times, "Hangman's Hymn" is haunting. Occasionally, it's demented and twisted (thanks in part to the laughter that appears numerous times throughout the album). Hell, at times there's even the odd instance of playfulness, though it comes in the form of mockery, which is most obvious on Me-Devil.

Nearly everything on this album is executed perfectly, from the absolutely brilliant use of symphonies (which were programmed since the band could not afford to use an actual symphony) to the outstanding guitar work (Shinichi and the bevy of guest guitarists really outdid themselves) and everything in between. The vocals, as stated, are virtually perfect and the drums are highly effective at keeping the album moving. I should note that this is the first Sigh album to feature blast beats. The drums do however contain one of the lesser accolades on the album. They're great, no doubt, but they do come off a little same-y. The bass is a bit non-existent and times, and the Christopher Lee-like spoken passage toward the end of the album is a little too Rhapsody for my liking, though it redeems itself merely in conceptual relevance.

Sigh has really done it. "Hangman's Hymn" has solidified their place as one of the most innovative and under-acknowledged bands in the metal genre, or even the music world as a whole. They have outshone the limiting black metal tag they were pigeonholed with after their first album. Once again they have released an album virtually impossible to relinquish to a single genre; it's avant-garde, yet unlike other avant-metal albums, it doesn't come off sounding like a contrived evil circus. It's thrash-y and blackened, yet it's a nearly impossible feat to distinguish which is more pronounced. Most of all, it's extremely well thought out, perfectly executed and most importantly, a blast to listen to. You will have trouble putting this album down.

They've come a long way since being signed by the late Euronymous fourteen years ago. This is their second best album, right behind "Imaginary Sonicscape".

In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.



Recent reviews by this author
Masked Intruder Masked IntruderAtheist Jupiter
Aeon Path of FireAdam Haworth Stephens We Live on Cliffs
Autopsy The Tomb WithinOrbs Asleep Next to Science
user ratings (242)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
FuneralMarch (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
June 1st 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This was my short version. I had one written that was about twice this, but it contained a lot of personal analysis and interpretations about the lyrics.

Tyler
Emeritus
June 1st 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks, I've actually been working on it longer than I normally would because these guys rarely get any credit on here.

plane
Staff Reviewer
June 1st 2007


6099 Comments


It's a good review, but I think I'd rather like the longer version. Every paragraph seems poised to go into more detail but you just keep moving at a clip pace. Maybe it's the flow (some paragraphs seem to dangle). But it's done it's job, seeing as I'm now in the process of getting it.

Tyler
Emeritus
June 1st 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

The extra information gets extremely tedious. I'll post it in this comment:

Firstly, you have Introitus, which is simply the opening of a liturgical service. Simple enough, right? Up next there’s Kyrie, a passage from the mass which goes Kyrie eleison, roughly translating to “Lord, have mercy”. Dies Irae’s use in the Catholic Mass was removed in the 70s, but I digress. Dies Irae is actually a famous hymn, and its usage in the Requiem comes in the form of the final few lines. Dies Irae roughly translates to Day of Wrath. The passages used on the album go as follows, first in Latin and then in English:

[center] Dies iræ! dies illa
Solvet sæclum in favilla
Teste David cum Sibylla![/center]

[center] Day of wrath and terror looming!
Heaven and earth to ash consuming,
David's word and Sibyl's truth foredooming![/center]

Up next there’s Rex tremendae, which translates to “King of Majesty tremendous”. Then you have “Confutatis”, and finally, “In Paradisum” and “Das Ende”, which I think you can figure out on your own.

Though it goes much deeper than this very basic analysis, hopefully this sheds some light on what exactly you’re listening to. To do this, as said, Sigh took from several languages (Greek, German, Latin) and, with the aid of their fans (who helped out primarily with Dies Irae and Kyrie), have managed to create a highly effective leitmotif that only occurs when necessary.

If necessary I can work this back into the review. I also had some stuff about how the Slaughtergarden, their official webforum, was recruited by Mirai to record spoken passages from the Requiem.This Message Edited On 05.31.07

Tyler
Emeritus
June 1st 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Only on Staff reviews.

rattlehead42147
June 1st 2007


1345 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

very good, now i now where the avatar comes from...
however i wasn't a huge fan of scorn defeat so i don't know about this one, i recognize sigh as a band that deserves a lot of credit but i don't think they're really my thing
i might try this though

Tyler
Emeritus
June 1st 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Scorn Defeat is their first album, it came out like 14 years ago. You need to move on.

Tyler
Emeritus
June 1st 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

It's their easiest album to digest on the first listen, but there's still endless benefits to listening to it many times. Since I got this I've played it god knows how many times; the car, in bed, on the computer. So good, then again I looooooove Sigh.

rattlehead42147
June 1st 2007


1345 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Scorn Defeat is their first album, it came out like 14 years ago. You need to move on.

jesus christ hardass i'm just saying...


kalkal50
June 1st 2007


2386 Comments


I saw this and i was gonna review maybe, but you did a much better job then i ever couldve done lol. It's really a unique band.

Tyler
Emeritus
June 1st 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I am a hardass. I pretty much outlined in the review that
1) they don't release the same album twice
2) they've long-since moved beyond the sound established on Scorn Defeat

Tyler
Emeritus
June 1st 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I saw this and i was gonna review maybe, but you did a much better job then i ever couldve done lol. It's really a unique band.

I plan on doing their discography over the summer, I just need to buy Infidel Art first.

antihippy
June 1st 2007


696 Comments


saw this of the front page and i immediately knew that you're the one who did it. good review too. definitely gonna check this out.

btw, do you mind if i do the review for gallow's gallery?

Tyler
Emeritus
June 1st 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

btw, do you mind if i do the review for gallow's gallery?

Not at all, but I'll be doing one too. I already know what I want to say, in fact.

antihippy
June 1st 2007


696 Comments


Not at all, but I'll be doing one too. I already know what I want to say, in fact.


alright then. i was planning on doing it today anyway, seeing i have some free time.

Tyler
Emeritus
June 1st 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

okay, just don't be mad if i nitpick at it :P

Slaapkamers
June 1st 2007


596 Comments


Sigh rule.

antihippy
June 1st 2007


696 Comments


agrees.

jrowa001
June 1st 2007


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great review. ill be checking this out soon, and possibly re-listen to their previous album that ive abandoned for a very long time

MeowMeow
June 1st 2007


662 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, I pretty much agree with it. I also agree with this being their second best behind Imaginary Sonicscape, which I'm actually working on a review for.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy