Monday, April 13, 2015
Once upon a time one of my favorite black metal bands put out an album called "Scenes From Hell" and they transformed from one of my favorite black metal bands into one of my favorite prog metal bands. Their new album finds them getting some of the aggression back as they study the various aspects of death. One thing that is interesting about Sigh is even though they are based in Tokyo the band does not employ the Oriental dodecaphonic scale, but pulls from western music ranging from Deep Purple of klezmer. This album opens in a fairly straight forward metal manner for these guys, with slight leaning toward an Emperor like sound as the clean vocals sweep in amid the twists and turns normally narrated by the more scathing snarls. The clean vocals have a more typical progressive metal vibrato, like something Therion might thrown in. They continue to use a chaotic mix of varied elements which are sometimes stirred together more smoothly than others. There are some good metallic moments to the title track, which settled in with me quicker than the opening song that took a few listens to sink in.
The keyboards coating "the Tombfiller" have a more folk metal majesty to them. The vocals retain the songs most savage sense. The clean vocals here are almost too bright her for me.The guitar playing continues to be one of the band's most impressive elements, with the drumming not too far behind. The songs are not long epics but rather concise considering all of the things being jammed into them. Layers of operatic chorus abound, making this a good album for someone that has outgrown Nightwish. The lavish experimentation and song writing reach their balance on " The Forlorn" which carries plenty of meat on its bones. The song also reaches down into a darker and heavier place that I like to hear coming from the band.
This album is much heavier than any thing they have done since "Hangman's Hymn". So fans of the bands older work will not feel like they are listening to a Mr. Bungle album despite the weird electronics attacking a song like " the Molestors of My Soul". Some of the riffs on here grind into you more like death metal. The polka metal the band has visited peeks out slightly in the frantic racing of "Out of the Grave". It seems Mikannibal's sax exploits are more toned down on this album. They hit a pretty powerful chug that collides with some over the top vocals on " the Trial By the Dead". The thrashy riffs that hit a minute and a half into the song will compel you to head band. The heaviness continues it's rampage even when it collides into jazz on "The Casketburner". The piano work on this song is pretty spot on for the styles the are mocking.
" A Messenger From Tomorrow" has a much different feel from all the other songs on this albums. The slower pacing is the most obvious, but the melodic sensibility takes a more dominate role than the aggression that runs rampant on the rest of the album. The clean vocals make more sense and feel better on this song as well. To be called "Dwellers in Dream" the song has more of a rock n roll feel to it. The vocal trade off in this song is one of the more effective uses of the harsher vocals. I am glad they are embracing the heavier side of what they do here, I think the song writing as a whole was better on a few of the previous albums. I'll see how this shred fest sits with me, for now I will give this album a 9.