Sigh
Heir to Despair


3.9
excellent

Review

by Xenophanes STAFF
November 18th, 2018 | 113 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: In attempting reinvention, Kawashima may have created Sigh’s most palatable—and best—record in nearly 20 years.

Kawashima’s eyeroll-inducing claims that Heir to Despair would be wildly different and “hated” by ardent Sigh fans falls like a lead balloon. After decades of turning black metal into a circus, even the boldest moves don’t feel entirely unexpected. Even at its weirdest, Sigh’s latest still feels in line with the band’s genre hopping sensibilities; a quintessential example of modern Sigh—irreverent, eclectic, and a total blast.

Weirdness in mind, it’s been increasingly difficult to declare Sigh a “black metal band.” Skirting the edges of progressive rock, heavy metal, and psychedelia, Sigh’s custom sound has strayed its furthest yet from the bleak confines of black metal, featuring more electronics and world-music styles than ever. Songs like “In Memories Delusional” and “Hands of the String Puller” have hints of the genre, but they’re hidden amongst J-rock choruses, chunky time changes, and pan flutes. Now,Heir to Despair, despite the overblown claims of being a complete change, really is markedly stranger than most Sigh outings. The “Heresy Suite” is a dark electronic trio of songs with thumping bass lines, vocoder vocals, and light sitar. Likewise, the title track closes the record with eastern flair, remittent with bevy of instruments and haunted vocals. Even one of the more standard tracks, “In Memories Delusional,” takes unpredictable turns towards a blackened power-metal fiasco. Again, it’s pretty strange, but never is it tasteless.

After the galumph of Graveward, all bets were off the table—Sigh have embraced their decades-in-the-making sound fully, and thankfully it is here to stay. As bizarre as Heir to Despair is at times, it feels like the tightest and purest example of Sigh’s signature sound in the modern era. Instead of blaring horns to add weight and cadence, Kawashima uses subtle electronics to add ambience and sparse instrumentation to cultivate genuine feelings. It’s Sigh’s most palatable record since, perhaps ever. Rather than bludgeon the listener with out-of-left-field whackiness, Sigh smartly use their avant-grade sensibilities to make their most substantial record in over 15 years. It offers so much more while feeling like less.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
November 18th 2018


9388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great on the point review. Albums an easy 4

Panzerchrist
November 18th 2018


413 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Kawashima’s eyeroll-inducing claims that Heir to Despair would be wildly different and “hated” by ardent Sigh fans falls like a lead balloon"



Pretty sure this was either abstract marketing or satire. It sure read like it.

Digging: Waste of Space Orchestra - Syntheosis

Hawks
November 18th 2018


69449 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wow I need to hear this asap.

Digging: Illyria - The Carpathian Summit

J() Alexander
November 18th 2018


6277 Comments


I must listen to this.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
November 18th 2018


15536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Kawashima is one crazy motherfucker. Will jam this, thanks for the write'up Xeno.

Digging: Otoboke Beaver - Itekoma Hits

J() Alexander
November 18th 2018


6277 Comments


Fantastic album cover btw.

Gyromania
November 18th 2018


26860 Comments


I actually don't know how I feel about this. The new guitarist isn't the best - especially on their last album, that was so boring. In Somniphobia is their last really great record, for me. Maybe I'll warm up to this yet. Good review at any rate

Hawks
November 18th 2018


69449 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Infidel Art is still my fav from what I’ve heard but I don’t think they’ve ever put out a bad album. Never jammed the one before this yet though.

kmagnum1x
November 18th 2018


441 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

graveward isn't worth listening to

Hawks
November 18th 2018


69449 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That’s what I’ve heard lol. This is cool so far though. m/

Firedust
November 18th 2018


895 Comments


I remember I used to jam scenes from hell from these guys back in the day

Gyromania
November 18th 2018


26860 Comments


Hangman's Hymn and Scenes From Hell are def their best.

Hawks
November 18th 2018


69449 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Infidel Art > Imaginary Sonicscape > Hangman’s Hymn > This > In Somniphobia > Scenes from Hell



Haven’t heard a few but I dig all of what I have heard. Band slayz.

Gyromania
November 18th 2018


26860 Comments


Imaginary Sonicscape is good but so overrated

Hawks
November 18th 2018


69449 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I agree it’s a bit overrated but I still think it’s top tier.

kmagnum1x
November 19th 2018


441 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

scenes from hell is one of my fav albums easily

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2018


15217 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Might check this, I love Hail Horror Hail but that's all I know from them

Hawks
November 19th 2018


69449 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That’s one I actually haven’t heard yet.

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2018


15217 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That one's so good dude, can't believe I've heard a metal album you haven't (;

Hawks
November 19th 2018


69449 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There’s a first time for everything lol.



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