Sigh - _Scenes From Hell_
(The End Records, 2010)
by: Kostas Sarampalis (9.5 out of 10)
The first thing you notice with Sigh's new album is the awesomeness of the cover. This is one damn perfect extreme metal album cover if there ever was one. Artistic as much as twisted, with Sigh's logo hanging like a tattered banner on the demon blown trumpet.

Talking about twists, the main one in the formula this time is the addition of Dr. Mikannibal, the rather sexy nymphet-like lady who growls like a beast and plays the saxophone (semi naked, apparently). The vocal duties are shared almost equally between Mirai's familiar rasping delivery and the almost death metal growling of Dr. Mikannibal, without any clean singing found anywhere on this one.

"Prelude to Oracle" opens the album in a straightforward manner, while "L'Art de Mourir" is violent and twisted, with all sort of trumpets and orchestration going on for it. "The Red Funeral" begins with a mournful piano and spoken words before it quickly goes into a mid to fast paced frenzy, only to expand the theme further with "The Summer Funeral", probably the first track in the album that allows the orchestration to breathe, expand and shine.

The orchestration, though it forms the backbone of the album, is never allowed to swamp the music. For example, take the very infectious guitar lead at the beginning of "Musica in Tempora Belli" that is allowed all its thrashy glory, rather than be masked by any violins or horns.

Never forget that Sigh's music is as weird and witty as it is accessible and straightforward. There is harmony and balance in the song writing, and this is amply evident in "Vanitas". In fact, if you pay attention in this track to how the band utilises brief pauses in their timings between guitars and drums, you will understand how Sigh use their considerable experience subtly and ever so efficiently in the most simply structured parts of their music, the pure heavy metal thrashing moments that receive no help whatsoever from pianos, cellos or synths. An elegant display of skill unfettered by ego.

The fact that I do not feel the need to compare each new album to the rest of the band's discography is a testament to how Sigh have consistently managed to keep their audience interested and their music relevant and evolved with every step they have made in their twenty years of existence. Nevertheles, if comparisons have to be made under threat of infanticide or something equally black metal-y evil, then I would say that _Scenes From Hell_ contains all the elements in Sigh's discography that work well. Sigh deserve your respect, because they always mindfuck you with your own expectations. Till the next one.

Contact: http://www.sighjapan.com/

(article published 5/29/2010)


ALBUMS
3/4/2012 J Carbon 9 Sigh - In Somniphobia
7/23/2011 J Carbon 9.5 Sigh - Scorn Defeat
7/4/2007 K Sarampalis 9.5 Sigh - Hangman's Hymn
10/3/2005 J Montague 8.5 Sigh - Gallows Gallery
12/9/1999 P Schwarz 9 Sigh - Scenario IV: Dread Dreams
1/1/1998 S Hoeltzel 7.5 Sigh - Hail Horror Hail
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