Artist: Sigh
Album: Graveward

Year: 2015
Genrer: Avantgarde, Black Metal, Progressive Metal
Run time: 49 minutes
My rating: 5 out of 5

Sigh is one band that always seems to make my eyebrows raise higher and higher, you never know what kind of weird musical maze you will get yourself disoriented in when it comes to the arrangements of these magically talented Japenese musical wizards. Graveward got released in April so I'm a couple of months late as I recently discovered it, regardless it was a great surprise as I currently have the album on repeat, and I'm constantly trying to focus and let the variation coalesce together in a coherrent fluent form, luckily I'm failing gravely, every split second bring a theatrical part that demands attention and my curiosity and amazement gives in completely and surrenders itself kneeling.

Something that made me in a sparkling mood before pressing the playbutton is that Sigh have a new member, and it turned out to be no one less than the genius guitar virtuoso Yuichi "You" Oshima from Kadenzza, I´ve been listening to the albums of Kadenzza multiple times and became impressed by the multitalent skills of Oshima.

Sadly Kadenzza haven´t been active since the release of The Second Renaissance and I started to wonder where Oshima disappeared, but as he joined the ranks of Sigh I found out that he got diagnosed with cancer and had to flee from his home due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster and other coming natural disasters, with all these majour setbacks I'm happy to see him alive and active in the music scene again and in such a prominent band nonetheless, I'm also glad to find out that Kadenzza will be revived.

As every person that have been given Sigh an ear the last years know, it´s alot of things going on in the compositions, alot of things that might not be fitting or should be fitting but Sigh always pulls it off, one might need a couple of extra times to listen everything through, and as in all cases other people might not like it all.

Graveward pretty much follows in the same ambitious, ambigous ways as it's predecessors Scenes From Hell and In Somniphobia but these three works still have their own lane to thread, the only thing that resembles them is that each and everyone have alot of different musical influences and Graveward is without a doubt their most diverse and well worked opus to this day.

The main influence is still Black/Thrash/Heavy metal so it´s not another Gallows album  even though it have som touches from it, the whole 70s vibe is coherrent, in rock, metal, psychedelia and even a bit of disco, the clean vocals that burst through the refrains in some tracks just pulse with the spirits from that era, and the hammond organs and the structures does help alot, Sigh is actually one of the extremely few bands that can utilize that particular horrendous instrument and make me like it.

Things doesn´t stop there, on top of that they have included bombastic choirs that takes altering forms and sounds, classic acoustic guitar that sort of have a Spanish influence in the song Out of the Grave, epic Power Metal syntheizer that in some points makes my thoughts go to the greatness of Bal Sagoth, Jazzy trumpets and saxophone, majestic orchestras and some minor electronics but there are no Dub Step parts like in In Somniphobia. The list can go on even further but everything they include becomes one with the whole musical concept.

The cover is a little bit more in the gothic horror department than the former oriental inspired ones, one of the reason for that seems to be that Mirai and co took inspiration from the music of musicians such as Goblin and Fabio Frizzi, and I'm pretty sure that the most of you on this page recognize his name due to the fact that he is the man that have been composing the most scores to Lucio Fulcis movies amongst others.

Graveward really have a classical cinematic horrorish pulse to it and brings the same murky cemetery feelings like King Diamond and Mercyful Fate, and it's all entombed in a gritty, natural production that even manage to portray all the instruments and vocal arrangement in a clear, audible way and it suits everything perfectly!

Now it might sound like Sigh have abandoned their Japanese roots which would be sad but that´s luckily far from the truth, you´ll have the inspiration and creative madness from that particular country embedded through several parts throughout the album, and it's evidently strong in the song A Messenger From Tomorrow, a calm, beautiful, serene song with East Asian instruments and arrangements that shows a complete different side of Sigh, further proving how great this band is. This song even impresses me with the add of the guestmusicians Metatron (Meads of Asphodel) who provides narrations and Niklas Kvarforth (Shining) who actually nailed it, for once he doesn´t make those stuffed croaking, stomacheacheing sounds and blends in with the song flawlessly, I honestly have no idea what his performing parts are but the whole song is amazing so I'm impressed either way.

It's not just Metatron and Niklas that get's to add their talents on this album, furthermore we have the ferocious soloskills from Kelly Simonz (Kelly Simon´z Blind Faith, Scarlet Garden) and Frédéric Leclercq (Dragonforce), vocal performances from Matt Heafy (Trivium) and Sakis (Rotting Christ). Sigh mixes the parts of their guestmusicians in an impressive way, I almost didn't recognize the contribution from either of them, they all blend in pefectly in every single way.

All I can say is that Sigh have done it again and they have even outdone themselves, I never call myself a fan of anything because I´m listening to alot of bands and don´t like to limit myself to one musical act but Sigh one of those bands that really puzzles and amazes me and when someone does that I definitely call myself a faithful devotee.


Band members:
Mirai Kawashima - Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Clavinet, Orchestration, Programming
Satoshi Fujinami - Bass
Junichi Harashima - Drums
Dr. Mikannibal - Vocals, Saxophones
You Oshima - Guitars

Label: Candlelight Records
Country: Japan

Bandcamp: https://candlelightrecordsuk.bandcamp.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/SIGH-official-page