Sigh is quite the interesting band these days. Formerly signed to the infamous Deathlike Silence Records (run by Euronymous of Mayhem fame and the epicenter of the Norwegian Black Metal scene), they’ve espoused their black metal trappings and have gone quite experimental, becoming even more so over the years. Their new album, In Somniphobia, is their most experimental yet. But does that make it good?
First off, I want to analyze the cover. Just look at it. That thing is sick, not gonna lie. I’d also argue that it pretty well resembles Sigh’s sound on this album: classic Sigh (given the classic style of the cover as well as their hearkening back to 1997’s classic Hail Horror Hail) but really what-the-hell-is-this.
This brings us to the music. To be totally honest, there’s not really a concise way to describe the music. Just about every genre around is touched on this album. We have the classical/old school gothic music (Lucid Nightmare) to music that sounds like it should be in an anime (The Transfiguration Fear). Sometimes, this works really well. The track Somniphobia is a really good mix between gothic music, electronica, and metal. It works really well. Personally, I think the cornerstone of this album is the song Amnesia. It has this Deep Purple-esque riff mixed in with this lounge sax/keyboards. I love it. Another great song is Amongst the Phantoms of Abandoned Tumbrils. This is a more black metal-esque song for you black metal kids, yet it’s still Sigh. Aside from one track on the album, you never get the vibe that they’re just doing this for the hell of it: everything has purpose, even if you don’t understand what that purpose is. Furthermore, leader Mirai Kawashima’s vocals have never sounded more true to himself. I’ve never heard him scream with this much emotion. With that said, the aforementioned The Transfiguration Fear just seemed out of place on this record. Something about the J-Rock vibe I get from it doesn’t seem to mesh well, and it’s almost jarring when it first plays. Maybe it hasn’t hit me yet – as I’ve said before, this is quite a complex album.
Overall, this is not an album you’ll grasp on first listen. Don’t even think about it. If you’re looking for an album to rock your balls off to, this is absolutely not the one, and shame on you for thinking such a thing. I’d compare this to fine rum: something that the more you sip, the more you can truly grasp the flavors of. It’s absolutely a fantastic album, and I think that everyone should listen to it multiple times to truly understand the workings of it – there’s more meat here than most bands release in their entire lives.
2. The Transfiguration Fear Lucid Nightmares
3. Lucid Nightmare
5. L’excommunication a Minuit
7. Far Beneath the In-Between
8. Amongst the Phantoms of Abandoned Tumbrils
9. Ending Theme: Continuum
10. Fall to the Thrall
11. Equale (a. Prelude, b. Fugato, c. Coda)