Sigh
Graveward


3.1
good

Review

by Xenophanes STAFF
April 17th, 2015 | 63 replies


Release Date: 05/05/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Party in putrefaction

Admittedly, for years, I have been a massive detractor of Sigh. I mean, they've always had this grating, irritating, and nauseatingly obnoxious quality to them--most notably on their last two records. In fact, Scenes From Hell was the first taste I received of the Japanese metal band. And what an acrid taste it was, both sickly sweet and distastefully sour. No matter how much I tried I couldn't see through the distorted and comically vaudevillian take on black metal.

Maybe it's the years I've spent listening and dissecting all sorts of metal, but suddenly I see Sigh for who they are--genuine metal in the flesh. The bloated and maddening mix of disparaging symphonic elements with thrash make more sense to me than the most heartfelt outing this year. You see, metal is inherently silly. Metal is weird and dramatic. It's fun, insane, and completely of the moment which is something Sigh embrace wholeheartedly.

Enter Graveward, the latest outing from the prog-metal act. It follows the same direction that everyone was expecting. Horns and sax explode all about the same thrash/black metal background that has been polished to a fine sheen. Much like the last two records they are an unexpected celebration of all things metal. Rather than being an avant-garde distortion, like so many perceive, it's actually a magnification of all things indulgent within metal. It's a boisterous and melodramatic celebration of sheer energy filtered through loud and scathing music. A success, really, Graveward manages to be thoroughly enjoyable in a tongue and cheek sort of way. Not only does it revel in all the trappings of metal-dom, such as shrieked vocals and over the top guitar solos, but it takes the most over done themes and makes them refreshingly off kilter.

You see, Graveward is all about death--death, dying, and the morbidity of mortality. Yet the subject material is approached in such away that it does not reek of trite melancholy or oppressive aggression. Quite the contrary, actually. Graveward is a boisterously good time through and through. It's a celebration rather than a dirge. The bopping horns and soaring vocals give an unlikely "fun" energy to an otherwise gruesome set of lyrics. In almost Danny Elfman fashion the album manages to be both light hearted and incredibly morose.

Successes abound, Sigh can't seem to shake one thing: Graveward sounds bad. The mixing throughout the album comes as a surprise given the tight songwriting within, but overall it sounds perplexingly inert. Instead of a nice mesh we are met with pieces on a set, with players in the foreground and others forced along the back wall. Most noticeable are the drums, which at times need the listener to listen keenly to really experience. Lacking the pummeling drive so desperately needed, the album feels innocuous at times.

This of course is a hard sell, with the album feeling inherently flawed. Really though, it is no stake to the heart because Sigh do a fine job keeping up spirits with a veritable sense of awareness. This really shines through the consistently entertaining set of tunes which showcase the band's diverse set of skills. It wears a little thin though, as Graveward can be a little overwhelming. Like a barrage to the senses the album beats the listener down with the same pace and tone throughout. With a little panache they are able to give an air of uniqueness and diversity to each song, but truly they are pretty similar save for the more electronic tracks "The Molesters of My Soul" and "A Messenger From Tomorrow."

I'm a surprising believer now, after all these years. Sigh are fun. Sigh are wild and unpredictable. Most importantly, Sigh take a magnifying glass and light to metal, reveling the joy of it burning down. While Graveward offers up a great time, it will most likely go down as one of the band's least accomplished records. Shoddy production and sterility stunt an otherwise excellent package.



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user ratings (110)
Chart.
3.2
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
Lord(e)Po)))ts
April 16th 2015


43137 Comments


review is really good tbh, validated

rasputin
April 16th 2015


14968 Comments


yer great review

Scenes from Hell barely made an impression on me so I probably won't bother listening to new material anymore

BMDrummer
April 16th 2015


14518 Comments


been jamming bits and pieces of these guys, they're ok

zaruyache
April 17th 2015


20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The production is so aggravatingly bad. Everything sounds muffled, or as if everything was recorded on microphones on the other side of the room instead of right near the instruments.

Digging: Neckbeard Deathcamp - SO MUCH FOR THE TOLERANT LEFT

emester
April 17th 2015


8261 Comments


Tracks I heard from this were pretty bad.

As zaru said, the production from what I heard, was absolute trash. Dunno If it was due to hearing those two tracks on youtube videos or not. But whatever the case im still curious to hear this.

Digging: Big Thief - U.F.O.F.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
April 17th 2015


2596 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review, and what you said about the production I totally agree with just based on the two songs I've listened to from this album. Seeing as I have a real soft spot for Sigh however, I'll probably end up loving this record through and through.

zaruyache
April 17th 2015


20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

unless the leak was just really low quality (doubtful), the tracks sound the same as the ones on youtube.

ProjectFreak
April 17th 2015


3619 Comments


this sounds amazing, great review

TheKingslayer1
April 17th 2015


2 Comments


Mirai Kawashima would be laughing at all of you if he were reading all comments specially the 'reviewer's.I've been listening Sigh since 1993's Scorn Defeat and all albums are great and different from each other.You should learn more about the topic before making ignorant comments particularly the 'reviewer'.C'mon Elijah Andrew listen to 'Imaginary Sonicscape (2001)' is a masterpiece of all history of metal.

zaruyache
April 17th 2015


20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love it when grandpa metalheads try to pull the "back in my day we listened to real rock'n'roll" schtick. Nobody cares that you still have this band's old demos stashed away in your attic, and we don't need to be old to know how to criticize music.

Jasdevi087
April 18th 2015


5528 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

TheKingslayer1 for worst new user 2015?

Panzerchrist
April 18th 2015


416 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It really stinks that you started with Scenes From Hell, which is, imo, one of their worst albums to date. I originally got into them via Hangman's Hymn, which was a fair bit easier to comprehend, personally. I do agree that the mixing here can be rather muddled across the boards, but it seems like a personal preference, at best. It goes along with their hokey album concept that they have going on. It's not an excuse, to be sure, but I don't really feel it detracts, either.

Digging: Arch/Matheos - Winter Ethereal

CalculatingInfinity
April 18th 2015


8916 Comments


Don't know what's funnier, saying that listening to a band for a longer period of time validates his opinion over others or calling Imaginary Sonicscape a masterpiece.

Anthracks
April 18th 2015


6272 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

not a very exciting album except in bits and pieces

Lord(e)Po)))ts
April 18th 2015


43137 Comments


its no of montreal

Gard3n
April 18th 2015


439 Comments


Someone is starting to get old. No worries, you'll get used to that eventually.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
April 18th 2015


43137 Comments


what

Wizard
April 18th 2015


20209 Comments


Band sucks donkey balls. Good review buddy.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
April 18th 2015


43137 Comments


im genuinely surprised you feel so vehemently negative about this band as a whole wiz

someguest
April 18th 2015


29904 Comments


I heard the single released from this and it was ass. Production should elevate your music, not completely discredit it.



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