Released date: April 13th, 2015
Genre: Black/Avant-garde Metal
Label: Candlelight Records
A killer avant-garde black metal record which is injected with some pretty catchy 80s thrash metal and older heavy metal elements… My friends, that is what these Japanese avant-garde metal veterans had provided us with their 2015 tenth full-length offering “Graveward“. Now I had been following Sigh for some time since I read about them in an article that talks about Øystein Aarseth‘s (Mayhem) Deathlike Silence Productions during my college years. Even with all the years gone by, this group still continues to extend their roots into new grounds with each and every release. With this offering, Sigh had once again got to great lengths to prove just how excellent they are in compiling insanely noteworthy and bizarre hymns which apprehend an untold amount of emotion and passion.
Just like the band’s prior releases, “Graveward” had astonished me as Sigh had again displayed their naturally experimental and eccentric character throughout the whole material. For starters, the music in the album is not of pure black metal (though it offers the heaviness of the genre every so often) same as the band’s earlier crafts. The obvious influences of thrash metal and classic heavy metal are all present in “Graveward“, but what I dig the most about the album is how the band had utilized keyboard lines and the orchestration in a strikingly neat and trim manner. The keyboards are right on point and Mirai Kawashima did not exaggerate in using it, not committing the common mistakes of most modern extreme metal bands with keyboards.
The tracks here are diverse, original, and colossal. With a guitar section that covers riffs from thrash metal, power metal, neo-classical elements, a touch of doom, and even a few older heavy metal pieces; listeners will get a hell of ride listening to each song in the record. The riffs provided by You Oshima here are impressive and heavy, while the solos are quite appealing to the ears and it establishes a manic pace and an exceptionally exalted bar. All the tunes carry guitar work which delivers terrifying and visceral twists of extreme metal landscapes, with perverted riffs and arrangements that will coil a feeling of total amusement to the audiences.
Satoshi Fujinami‘s audible bass guitar, which does not go overboard and presses a substantial reinforcement to the tunes, is distinctly present in every part of the offering. Only a few extreme metal records these days contain a well-executed and well-balanced bass sound, and “Graveward” is definitely one of them. Dr. Mikannibal‘s saxophone playing also fits the songs in the material very well. In fact, she has some impressively beautiful saxophone solos thrown into the mix that’ll conjure a sweet eargasm.
The drum work of Junichi Harashima is also pretty satisfactory. He may not have done anything too varied with his drumming, but he did a great job in matching the mood of each riff in the album. I also would like to praise his method of staying away from too much blasting to yield a very insightful cornerstone for the phantasmagoric demeanour of the rest of the music. The black metal harsh vocal style of Mirai also had once again made a strong impact on this record just like their previous releases. His raspy vocal rendering, along with a few clean vocals from Dr. Mikannibal, complements all the other elements here.
So to end this review, Sigh had once more impressed their fans and the whole extreme metal community with a glorious and sublime offering in the form of “Graveward“. This material is really just incredible all around. I dig everything on this album and it is a broad in content work that’ll draw it’s listeners into an obscure world every time that you give it a spin and hear the opening notes. I highly recommend this record — along with Sigh‘s early releases such as “Scorn Defeat“, “Imaginary Sonicscape“, and “In Somniphobia” — to every fan of the extreme music art form. This is another testament to Sigh‘s impeccable power in the art form of extreme music.