Review Summary: The Angelic Process makes music that is undoubtedly huge. There are the dark and vast soundscapes, the tortured vocals and of course, the layers upon layers of guitars. ‘Sigh’ is no different, just slightly flawed.
In late 2006, The Angelic Process was a band gaining recognition. Their 2001 debut ...And Your Blood is Full of Honey
had passed by without much acknowledgement from anyone and the original release of Coma Waering
in 2003 was only circulating in very small circles. It wasn’t until Paradigms Recordings re-released the latter three years later that the band started becoming known.
This is where the Sigh
EP comes in. Released about a month before Coma Waering
’s reissue, it shows the band’s move towards the more massive sound that would make up their 2007 masterpiece Weighing Souls With Sand
. The vocals and electronics are more prominent here than they were on previous releases and this is immediately noticeable from the introduction of the first track. The apocalyptic sound that came to the forefront in Coma Waering
on tracks like “The Sun in Braids” is used here once again, with the textures creating an atmosphere full of swirling ambience and that ‘drowning’ feeling the band has become so well known for. The drums are as usual, tribal and rhythmic and create the hypnotic element associated with The Angelic Process’s particular brand of ambient drone. Elsewhere, the guitars and bass play the role of providing the heaviness: crushing and dense, they are unrelenting in their hurricane-force soundscapes.
“The Black Ark” is perhaps the best example of these characteristics. It is the culmination of everything that has gone before it, packed into a neat little five-and-a-half minute package. There is not really much more that can be said about it other than what is mentioned above, as The Angelic Process rely on a fairly repetitive formula that is more about atmosphere than song variation. However, it must be said that it is one of the band’s best songs as it is an experience within itself, bringing together the harsher vocal style and increased use of electronics that would be used on the next album. “Trance to the Sun” is another song that makes use of these features and it does well to evoke the same kind of feeling its title does.
Despite all these improvements, however, this is not a faultless release. While the title track may be good, it lacks the punch required for music that runs almost exclusively on mood and emotion, especially as the first song on the album. Its ten-minute running time is also slightly too stretched as it does not warrant its length, unlike say “The Promise of Snakes” from Weighing Souls
... or the title track from Coma Waering
. Speaking of running time, another issue with Sigh
lies in its duration; 24 minutes is not quite enough to become fully immersed in the music, especially with the opening song’s inability to set the required mood. This detracts from the overall ‘experience’ one is supposed to have listening to an Angelic Process album, although it would be unfair to say that Sigh
does not present this to the listener – it is just slightly harder to find when unfamiliar with the band’s music.
In summary, Sigh
does not make for the band’s best release but shows the first signs of the brilliance that was still to come. It also contains two of the best songs in the group’s discography in “Trance to the Sun” and “The Black Ark” and is therefore a more than worthwhile listen.
Dedicated to Kris Angylus (R.I.P.)