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Sigh | Imaginery Sonicscape | review | Japanese | metal | Lollipop


Imaginery Sonicscape (Century Media)
by Paul Lee

Pardon the enthusiasm and lack of finesse here, but Sigh kicks fucking metal ass and no one can touch them! Is that enough to go on? No? Then onto more detailed descriptions we go! I'll admit, I may be biased because I've been into these Japanese mutants since their '97 EP, Infidel Art, and every album keeps getting weirder and better. Imagine a band that fuses black metal, progressive rock, jazz, classic metal, psychedelic rock, pop, and classical (and probably a number of other genres I haven't uncovered yet) and you have an inkling as to what Sigh are all about. This is challenging stuff...

Their fifth full-length album, Imaginary Sonicscape, may be Sigh's greatest achievement yet, and after the mind-warping effect of their 1999 classic, Scenario IV: Dread Dreams, that's like saying there's a new form of acid that works even more wonders! Since Sigh were on the lame-ass Brit label Cacophonous, many may've missed them, but now they're going to be much more visible on Century Media. Every release since Scorn Defeat, their first one on Norwegian label, Voices of Wonder, has pushed their musical boundaries to the very limit, and it's going to be difficult for these three visionaries to top this album.

If I had to detail what Imaginary Sonicscape consists of and the twists and turns the ten songs take, we'd have a review of Bible-sized proportions on our hands. So I'll just give a very cursory tour... Utilizing old-school instruments like mini-Moogs, Hammond organs and Vocoders (not to mention a Speak & Spell), alongside their highly-skilled guitar, bass, and drums action, Sigh achieve an even more bizarre edge and never fail to stimulate your neurotransmitters. For example, when listening to the eleven-minute epic, "Slaughtergarden Suite," you may just expect that thundering, thrash groove to wreck your neck, when all of a sudden along comes a sweeping orchestral keyboard waltz to lull you into a state of peace. But we're not done there, fair reader, because the waltz makes an abrupt turn into black metal evil, and just as suddenly, a jazz riff appears and fits seamlessly alongside it, and so on...

I've only listened to this album about ten times and it'd probably take another ten to give you a truly accurate account of their twisted genius. With the many genres utilized, Sigh flawlessly incorporate and mutate their influences to render a form of extreme music that's like nothing else. The only bands that come close are Emperor and Enslaved, and even they haven't gone far enough into the depths of sonic madness to achieve what these Japanese freaks have.
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