Review Summary: Sigh show a few growing pains on their way to becoming a more experimental/avant-garde band.
Mirai Kawashima – bass, keyboard, synthesizer, vocals
Shinichi Ishikawa – acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Satoshi Fujinami – drums, percussion
In the early 90s, the rebirth or “second wave” of black metal that was going on in Norway slowly extended out to other countries with varying amounts of success. Euronymous of Mayhem, largely considered the godfather of black metal, founded his own record label on which to release the most evil black metal music. A Japanese band by the name of Sigh caught his ear and he quickly signed them to his label but after releasing their debut on Euronymous’ Deathlike Silence Productions label, (after his death no less) Sigh found themselves without a home, signing shortly after to British label Cacophonous Records, an equally unreliable company with a limited budget and minimal distribution. Maybe had Euronymous still been alive and kept them on his label, Sigh may have taken more of a black metal direction but at Cacophonous they had a certain freedom to experiment and that they did with “Infidel Art.”
While Sigh were never truly a black metal band, “Infidel Art”
shows the band starting to spread it’s wings into a more avant-garde direction. Still with a Venom-esque thrash sound, the use of synths and keyboards became more prominent and they also show great ambition with five of the six tracks being at least eight minutes long. While there is nothing wrong with a nine- or ten-minute song, some tracks seem to wander a bit aimlessly and are long just for the sake of being long but there are some outstanding moments to be found here.
Sigh’s debut “Scorn Defeat”
showed potential but was very raw, “Infidel Art”
shows a bit more maturity but at this time, Sigh were still taking small steps toward the band that they would eventually become. The production is a bit improved though the guitar seems to be out front and center in the mix along with the vocals with the bass and drums far in the background. Opening track “Izuna” starts things out with thrashy riffing and some synth orchestration that sound a bit awkward. The nearly ten-minute “The Zombie Terror” is an amazing track, one of the fastest tracks of the album with inspired guitar soloing and brilliant piano bits that give it a great change of pace from the speedy riffing. Mirai’s vocals are delivered in a high pitched rasp which is not a problem in itself, rather it’s his enunciation, his lyrics are nearly indecipherable whether it’s in his harsh or clean vocals. After the two opening tracks, the album slows down literally and figuratively with tracks like “Desolation” that simply doesn’t justify its eight minute running time. “Beyond Centuries” closes the album on a high note, slow paced in parts and a bit thrashy in others, with synth and piano accents and mostly clean vocals by Mirai.
An album like “Imaginary Sonicscape”
most likely would’ve never been released on Deathlike Silence Productions knowing how narrow-minded the black metal scene is and the rigid confines of the genre. In a way, had Euronymous not been killed, we may have been robbed of one the most original, creative bands in metal and although “Infidel Art”
may not be Sigh’s best album, it shows the potential that would be fulfilled in a few years and even at this stage, they showed that they weren’t your average metal band.
The Zombie Terror