Thursday, March 25, 2010

Initial Impressions: Sigh: Scenes from Hell

Japan's Sigh has always been a bit of an unorthodox band. They started in the early 1990's as a black metal band on the label of now-deceased Mayhem guitarist Euronymous. Since then, the band's sound has been constantly evolving. Some black metal elements are still present, but by and large the band has morphed into something altogether different and unique.

This album I feel, is a bit of a grower. It may be that I come to appreciate it much more given some time to fully digest it. But, initial impressions have lead me to believe that this is really strange. And that's difficult to do when the band's music up until now has been difficult to define and strange anyway.

The band has been experimenting with classical and symphonic music elements for some time. This is no surprise. However, those elements have largely taken over the band's sound. There are very few moments where there is no classical/symphonic instrumentation found. This gives kind of an awkward feeling overall to the band's music. Included are horn sections and saxophone parts courtesy of new member Dr. Mikkanibal.

The metal riffs are in there somewhere. They do still superficially resemble black metal riffs, but there's so much else going on musically that it's difficult to classify this group as black metal. The vocals are delivered in a harsh, black metal rasp. Occasionally, female vocals are present, also courtesy of Dr. Mikkanibal.

This is an extremely odd album and very hard to pin down. I'm not sure yet what to think of it. Maybe in time, I will come to love it, as I did with their prior album. I'm just not sure.

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