Label: Virus Productions - VP009 • Format: Cassette Album, Limited Edition • Country: Canada • Genre: Rock • Style: Black Metal
Best viewed without Internet Explorer, in x resolution or higher. Formed inwe could say that Sigh were born with the second wave of the musical genre that is known as black metal. While bands like Sigh - Scorn Defeat and Darkthrone were hitting the musical world hard in Scandinavia with the darkest and rawest form of metal music to this date, the legendary avant-garde black metal band Sigh was giving Japan a little taste of the cold realms of black metal.
InSigh released their first full-length album, Scorn Defeat. Looking at this record inyou can't look at it the way black metal fans did in the 90's, for Sigh evolved toward a far more theatrical, high in color and avant-gardist form of black metal than what we known them for back in I can't pretend to give it this look either, for I was only born inand black metal wasn't so popular in kindergarten back then. One could do the mistake of analyzing this album with a teleological approach and end up thinking that Scorn Defeat was maybe just a glimpse of what was to come.
Yes, Sigh changed a lot through the years, and Scorn Defeat is obviously, the most black metal oriented release of their discography, but seeing this album as just a step toward the greatness of their latest albums such as Scenes From Hell, Hangman's Hymn or Imaginary Soniscape would be wrong. This album is a piece of art that stands on its own. It is whole, and not just a part of a bigger whole.
Scorn Defeat is the most black metal oriented album of all Sigh's albums I Am - Awolnation - Run sure, but Sigh were never just another one of those black metal acts. Avant-garde was in their blood even back then. Throughout the years, Sigh would add a lot of orchestration, tons of very different instruments, psychedelic twists, influences of various musical genres and a lot more to their music.
But back inthe core of their music was black metal. A well felt second wave black metal, with a very dark production, raw sound and rasping grim black metal vocals. This album is, one of the greatest pieces of art given to the metal scene for that matter, because Sigh managed to grasp the cold feeling and the raw emotions of black metal and deliver them with a beautiful avant-garde twist. It also doesn't feel weird and out of place. Tracks like Victory Of Dakini, which stands as one of my all-time favorite black metal Sigh - Scorn Defeat , has a very typical yet so unique second wave black metal set of riffs, but still manages to break down in a crazy avant-garde metal section in the middle of the track.
Sigh is a band that manages to be so theatrical with every single of their release; their music feels to me like it should be Nemám Rád Lidi Jako Jsi - Démapéš* - 1.
Demo Pana Démy 13.IX.1981 in a theatre in the middle of a baroque play about Hell, demons and lost souls! This band manages to mix the very dark elements of lyrical themes so typical to black metal with a more theatrical feel, thus tuning down the seriousness of this album and making it a self-aware piece of art that doesn't try to be anything else than a piece of art.
Music wise, this album shines for various reasons, but the most important in my opinion is the magistral Sigh - Scorn Defeat of the guitarist Shinichi Ishikawa who appears in a corpse paint with a katana and a hand on fire, on the cover of one of the versions of the album. Shinichi is a very able musician who would after Scorn Defeat prove how well he could master so many genres, and most important of Sigh - Scorn Defeat If Sigh is such a Dee Clark - High School Sweaters band it is mostly because of Shinichi.
And I will keep saying his name Shinichi, for he seems to get forgotten very often when this band is discussed. Nowadays, everybody seems to be in love with Mirai and Mikannibal. Mirai is of course, just as important to the band and this is my point after all.
Shinichi and Mirai are the pillars of this band. On Scorn Defeat, Shinichi manages to play some of the best black metal riffs to be ever composed. Sometimes slow and heavy, sometimes fast, raw and merciless Shinichi's riffs are one of the main reasons why this album shines.
Mirai's work is also colossal. His vocals for one thing, are perfect. It may seem easy to do black metal vocals of the Οι Καραμελίτσες - Μαρίζα Κωχ - Μια Εκδρομή Με Τη Μαρίζα, for they do not focus that much on technique.
But what isn't Sigh - Scorn Defeat in technique as to be found in passion. Mirai is not just singing about going to Hell, he is going to Hell! The lyrics, touching Asian mythology if I'm not mistaken, are also quite good and showing once again the uniqueness and soul of this band.
Mirai's keys Sigh - Scorn Defeat there to Sigh - Scorn Defeat this spine chilling organ feeling every now and then through the album, working once again in creating the theatrical feeling that plays such a central role in Sigh's music. Mirai, also playing the bass guitar on this album, delivers a good performance on that level as well. Most memorable bass line for me is in Ready For The Final War when the keys, guitar and bass all play the same melody in an instrumental section.
Black metal bass isn't known for stealing the show, but Sunset - All Day - York Pop Music Project is totally fine that way. Very good supportive role, well delivered once again.
Quick words about Satoshi's drumming. There isn't a lot to say, ranging from typical black metal blast beats and simple supportive rhythms, what makes the drums good, is the song-writing. Satoshi's is not stealing the show, but doing is job just the way it needs to be done. Looking at the big picture now, taking the album as a whole and trying to find a few words to describe Scorn Defeat, I would describe it this way: This is glorious music!
It feels just like Sigh went to Hell and brought back some of its malice to Sigh - Scorn Defeat some of the most theatrical, avant-gardist I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings - Buckshot LeFonque - Buckshot LeFonque incredible metal albums ever.
I can't praise this album enough. Listen to it! Sigh are a very special entity within the universe of metal, and no band will ever sound as they do. A lot has been said about their transition to a more "avant-garde", less black metal-oriented way of making music, but I think that conceptually this never really happened and anybody who dismisses them on the basis of some jazz or prog rock influences never really understood what they were about.
Sigh never left any facet of their sound behind, never abandoned the metallic quality of their core, and were pretty damn esoteric almost from the outset. No doubt the instrumental and compositional skills of the band members have improved since from a technical standpoint, and perhaps the band did get a little lost a few years ago among the legion of styles they hungered to incorporate into their horrific and existentially challenging blend of music, but there has always been that powerful heavy metal riff, wailing guitar solo or morbid Sabbath-esque dirge to remind you that you're listening to a metal band first and foremost, no matter how many orchestral patches, pianos, saxophones or accordions they decide to throw at you at any given time.
All the same, by the time of "Imaginary Sonicscape" the band had quite a few detractors within the realm of "true metal", and it could be said that they had moved quite far from the blackness that characterised their sound until the "Hail Horror Hail" album, roughly speaking. That's just it, though Indeed, I Sigh - Scorn Defeat argue that whatever the hell they sounded like, their mood has always remained horrific, disquieting and "black as pitch", even among brighter, bombastic musical passages.
I suppose any naysayers the band might have can't have understood their latest album, "Hangman's Hymn", either, as that is pretty much a terrific snarl in the face of anybody who maintains that Sigh have lost touch with their origins and don't play any sort of black metal nowadays. That, however, is a subject for a different review. I think Sigh probably took the black metal world by surprise in Sure, there were a few other filthy hordes operating in Japan, mostly playing in the tradition of prototypical black and death metal, but I don't think that these bands really made much headway in the West at the time.
When Euronymous signed Sigh and was prepared to release their debut, he must have heard something uniquely powerful and felt the black aura of the "eastern force of evil" creeping along the fibres of his cortex.
Sigh were, no doubt, aware of the early Norwegian black metal bands, but the elements that combine in their cauldron of mephitic halucinogens come almost exclusively from the previous two decades. I believe there is something called the "horror metal aesthetic", and it is more of an ideal than a Sigh - Scorn Defeat . Through this ideal, bands like Black Sabbath, Venom, Death SS, Mercyful Fate and Hellhammer sought to reveal, in its naked and stark clarity, the truth about death in a cold and implacable cosmos, and the pitiful scrabblings of the human psyche scrabblings we call religion to come to terms with existence fraught with adversity and terror and which could, in any case, be snuffed out in a second by some unpredictable external force, or simply eaten away from the inside by decay and disease.
I believe that Sigh represents a logical progression of this unspoken current that runs through the core of so much of the Sigh - Scorn Defeat we love, Every Woman Every Man - Amelia Curran - Watershed (File, Album) you can feel this unease and horror in varying degrees through all of their recordings, even within the most seemingly whimsical peregrinations.
For the most part, however, the aforementioned whimsy does not reveal itself much here. The tone of "Scorn Defeat" is heavy with threats, crackling with the power of darkness, and yet it carries with it a certain detachment from the judeo-christian concept of good and evil that much metal music and so many other things born in the West implicitly endorses.
It isn't that Sigh aren't embracing the darkness to an extent, as every black metal band should. However, what Sigh aim for is something more Lets Sing A Gay Little Spring Song - Various - Walt Disneys Bambi, more altogether deistic in a sense.
Darkness and Light are certainly forces of power within the universe, but the borders are nebulous indeed, and all life, all force and motive, falls prey to the same inevitability. Entropy and the wheel the karmic wheel, if you like are the only truly immutable forces at work, and nothing can withstand their ever-increasing weight. So, taking this perspective into consideration, it is possible to see "Scorn Defeat" as a work of seven Generazione Distrutiva - Klasse Kriminale - I Ragazzi Sono Innocenti that detail the inevitable turn of the Great Wheel.
It's not a linear journey in time, or anything quite so concrete as that, but rather a psychological and emotional exploration of something that begins as conquest, glory and bloodlust; travels through war and pain and resignation, viewing death and the resurrection through occult means as the only chance for the proliferation of the indomitable spirit, before finally sinking into despondency and hopelessness.
Musically we have an ominous melody played on bass and guitar that portends something terrible approaching and call to my mind the lowing of great battle horns; everything stops for a moment and there is an ascending broken chord played on bass before the brilliantly strong verse riff and Mirai's exhortations take control.
The Dakini, a female embodiment of enlightenment and the triumph over ignorance and ego, reflects a powerful dicotomy of the terrible and the beautiful, the positive and the negative. She moves through the sky, yet dances naked upon your corpse. In one hand she holds a cup brimming with menstrural blood; in another, a wicked curved knife.
Her cult has risen and they are war-like and merciless, feasting on human livers and holding the sundered limbs of those who would stand against them aloft as they step through space, seeking to transmute the poison of lost love and life into Sigh - Scorn Defeat illumination of their path to spiritual immortality.
It seems a dangerous perversion, but its glory is heady and full of allure. One can't get enough of that incredibly heavy and extremely dark riff it's even more hard-hitting in the live environment, I must sayand the triumphant section near the song's close, which seems to symbolise the Dakini hordes converging and ascending through the spheres over a sky redolent with ashes and even gives us some choir-like chanting, can bring a receptive listener to his proverbial knees.
The piano makes its first appearance here, and it can be heard as a leading instrument at various times during almost every song on "Scorn Defeat". The song-writing here is really interesting, as Sigh tend to repeat sections often but twist the motif slightly each time they return to it. For example, the ponderous crawl of "A Victory of Dakini"'s refrain is lead by a tolling clean guitar over the distorted rhythm track the first time through, but the second time around this role Sigh - Scorn Defeat occupied by the piano.
The chord Want You Baby - Plasmatics - New Hope For The Wretched is the same, but the altered instrumentation, slightly different accentings and so on create very palpable sensations of tension and a feeling that, despite the music's comparative simplicity and sparseness, songs are definitely moving somewhere, progressing very purposefully and leading you away from the safety of your mundane life.
Of course, this is a Sigh album and that means that something bewildering has to happen at some point or other, and in this case I think that that moment Sigh - Scorn Defeat right off in the first song. Most of this piece is, as already hinted, a menacing dirge, but things do speed up around half-way; there's a moment of build-up with a rolicking riff that ascends a few chords repeatedly, and then suddenly we're left with a single guitar track squawking out a completely over-the-top, sloppy pentatonic solo.
It sounds very rock 'n' roll, very drunk and almost spontaneous, and on top of all that with the drums clattering and tumbling away we get mirai groaning in ecstacy and chanting what sounds like "kill! Just as suddenly as it began, this moment of bizarre catharsis stops, and the refrain returns for the second time, slow and sombre, as if cleansed in blood and now ready for transition to a higher plane of reality.
There are times when I'm still not prepared for this little outburst and it took me a while to fit it in to what I feel is a strong conception of the song and what it entails, but I must say I've grown used to it and, while it still seems a little jarring, I've simply had to 1938 - Daniel Landa - Pozdrav Z Fronty myself to the fact that Sigh has always enjoyed doing this to their listeners; sometimes the effect works, sometimes it doesn't, and in the context of the song, this is probably one of the better examples of the mind-games the band likes to play, precisely because it isn't a game at all and the mad exultation is quite real.
It's a very short song and if you're not paying attention it can slip through your hands before you've even really become used to it. There's something strange going on with the production in this track as someone turned Sigh - Scorn Defeat reverb knob all the way up!
I don't think any of the other songs sound quite this way, and while it's a cool atmospheric effect it becomes hard to discern exactly what riffs are being played, especially toward the song's close when the evil thrashing is joined by the threnody of a vaguely choral-sounding synthesiser.
The drums and vocals almost obliterate everything else in the soundscape, Sigh - Scorn Defeat latter being spat forth with a lot of venom and hatred though the lyrics are gloomy and almost more reflective of the largely instrumental doom half of the song.
These thrashier Sigh tunes always contain these fiery vocalisations and they manage to sound very wearing on Mirai's voicebox and breathing!
It sometimes amazes me that he can vomit forth all those lines so quickly, but I guess this kind of rapid-fire delivery is something we are used to from thrash vocalists like Don Dody and Tom Araya. Much of Sigh's music however is not at all thrashy in delivery, so when things accelerate it always ends up being a bit of a surprise. It's perhaps slightly unfortunate that the band opted to tweak the mix of "The Gnell", as the guitar melodies are actually really good and the cavernously echoey sound makes everything sound quite obscure.
There's Sigh - Scorn Defeat little mid-paced section that bridges the two contrasting parts of the piece that features one excellent riff that you don't get to hear more than four times or so, and Sigh - Scorn Defeat plodding dirge motif is topped off with a ghostly little organ solo the second time Sigh - Scorn Defeat that sounds a little bit Hamond-like.
The lyrics tell of the end of the world and hint that there are worse things than death; that death, in fact, could be an escape from whatever is happening to terrestrial life.
No explanations are given, but the cryptic quality of the lyrics and the melodies at work in the piece make for a very haunting effect.
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