Review Summary: Psychadelic perfection.
You know that feeling: a transcendent experience, almost as if you were in a dream. You have difficulty distinguishing the fake from the fictional. You begin to question all your senses; is your vision true, or is it just an illusion" Are the sounds of your life concrete, or fictional" You begin to question everything you’ve ever known, and many times, an important lesson may be learned. Many of us have had these experiences, whether they be your average out-of-body experience, a near death experience, or just getting really, really high. It is my belief that this is the kind of experience that the members of Sigh
were attempting to achieve when writing their psychedelic-metal masterpiece, Imaginary Sonicscape
. What lays within this album ranges from mid-pace thrash-riffs to slow, brooding electronic atmospheres that put most doom bands to shame. Do not be taken unawares, however; Sigh
have in absolutely no way ripped off Pink Floyd
. Within Imaginary Sonicscape
, the band has crafted 10 songs of a mostly indefinable genre; at this point, the band truly transcends any genre classification. Trying to compare this album to any other metal album is equivalent to attempting to compare a platypus to any other mammal; it’s definitely similar, but when you try to discern any real common ground it to its kin, you are more often than not left floundered. Listening to this album and expecting something normal, or something similar to anything else you’ve heard, will set you up for a disappointment that will ruin not only the album, but possibly all of the band ’s material for you. With this album, the band has achieved what most bands could barely ever dream of; they have made an album that sets them apart from everyone else; with Imaginary Sonicscape
can only be described as “Sigh
Psychadelic is a label that gets thrown around just as carelessly as many other obnoxious musical euphemisms (metalcore, progressive, brutal to name a few). As subjective as any of the other terms, what it can mean to one person may seem incredibly foolish to another. I henceforth would recommend that someone start a petition stating that if a band is to be labeled as “psychedelic”, Sigh
should be used as a band for comparison. As interesting as it is confusing, Imaginary Sonicscape
weaves its way through rocking metallic passages all the way to strange, reverb-drenched symphonic passages. It’s important to mention that any listener expecting a easy listen will be overwhelmed by the sheer density of Sigh
’s music; nothing they do has ever been simple, and Imaginary Sonicscape
is the absolute epitome of this fact. Concerning this album, however, the band has taken a more avant-garde and obtuse shift in their music approach. Discarding their unique style of black metal for a more Black Sabbath
-esque variety of tempos and riffs, they have taken all their experimenting with strange melodies, quirky electronics, and passion for woodwinds and combined it into a flawless demonstration in skillful songwriting and composition.
has a passion for complex music; mind you, I do not mean this in the technical sense. While skilled at their instruments, the band ’s members do not need to swaggeringly play their instruments to get a point across. Rather, the band has varied and complex compositions within each track, layered and arranged to perfection. The number of different instruments used within this album is absolutely mind-boggling. Saxophones, minimoog, string machine, vocoder, speak & spell, recorders – the list just goes on and on. In the first song alone, the band uses a symphony to create an epic, beautiful ending to a fantastic, rocking opener. A lot of focus of the album lies in how well the band works together. While the front-man and mastermind Mirai Kawashima is the driving force behind the compositional accomplishments of the album, each and every member of the band pours all of their emotion into his/her (the session saxophonist is a [hot] lady) musical output. Mirai's vocals provide a backbone for most of the album, carrying the music into it's swirling highs and despairing lows. Never-mind his contribution concerning the electronics; where his voice goes, the music follows. Mirai has a standard black metal screech, as well as a atypical shout-sing that he utliizes on various songs. While not especially flashy, they are effective in contributing to the overall feel of the music.
The album comes off sounding representative of the fact that they have the ability to work together, rather than work individually and just combine everything. Each song is a calculated use of sound, (pardon the pun PtH fans), and each and every song is worth listening to time and time again; for me, they never get old; each song is a masterpiece of originality. Each and every element of the music is exactly where it should be; the band achieves a sound that is both frantically complex and strangely relaxed. To say that the atmospheres given off by this album are evil or depressing would be a preposterously misleading statement; if nothing else, the vibe Sigh
has strived for is reminiscent of optimism and idealism. Some of the melodies are dark, moody and somber, but overall, the album comes off as a uplifting experience. Perhaps, it is that the album is executed so masterfully that one cannot be happy when listening to it.
Production junkies fear not, for Imaginary Sonicscape
has crystal clear production. Each and every note can be heard without fail; the guitars come off crisp and crunch in some places, clean and melodic in others. As far as intricacy goes, technical virtuosity remains fairly average; the real talent lies in the hooks and the placement of the lines. Ranging from mid-pace riffs to slower, doomier progressions, Imaginary Sonicscape
does not, not even for a minute, get itself past medium speed; there is no shred or wankery to be found. The true gem lies in the compositions and the teamwork evident. A common failure of bands with keyboards and sythensizers is the conglomeration of these two elements; keyboard lines often feel alienated from their brethren guitar lines. Flawlessly putting to shame any such semblances of that notion, Sigh
have a knack for letting the electronic elements play off each other, creating both epic soundscapes and chaotic atmospheres. Solos often involve duels between the keyboardist and guitarist, offering up some fantastic trade-offs that in no way come off as overbearing. In addition, the solos are tasteful and necessary; they both add an additional point of interest to the song while not drowning the listener in technical bravado.
Fronting a trait I would love to see more often, Sigh
’s bass can be heard clearly at almost all times. Not only that, but the band’s bass player is just as competent as his fellow guitarist; he is not there just because the band “needed a bassist”. With the clearly audible bass, the guitars are given a solid low-end to build off of. Of special note is the drum work. While not especially amazing in any technical sense, the band, or the band’s producer, has achieved my all-time favorite snare hit, as well as delightfully resounding drum hits all around. The triggers are not obtrusive by any means, and are layered just as even as all the other elements. Imaginary Sonicscape
is truly the best produced album I have ever heard; nothing else even comes close.
It would be a expectation worthy of enormous ridicule to expect this album to mean something on the first listen. With as many layers and textures as the ocean itself, Imaginary Imaginary Sonicscape
is one of the most bewilderingly structured albums I have ever come across. The emotion that drips off every single song inexorably displays the amount of time and effort that went into the writing of the album. It’s nearly impossible to impart an accurate description of the albums nuances without a hilariously obvious slant; Imaginary Sonicscape
gets into the listener and gets in deep. Listen to this. Now… Right now… Are you listening yet" No" WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU"