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Sigh - Imaginary Sonicscape (8,5/10) - Japan - 2001

Genre: Avantgarde Metal
Label: Century Media
Playing time: 63:32
Band homepage: Sigh

Tracklist:

  1. Corpsecry – Angelfall
  2. Scarlet Dream
  3. Nietzschean Conspiracy
  4. A Sunset Song
  5. Impromptu (Allegro Maestoso)
  6. Dreamsphere (Return To The Chaos)
  7. Ecstatic Transformation
  8. Slaughtergarden Suite: I. At Dawn, II. The Dead Are Born, III. Destiny
  9. Bring Back The Dead
  10. Requiem - Nostalgia
Sigh - Imaginary Sonicscape

Ok. If you’re not familiar with SIGH’s work, try and think big keyboard tomfoolery improvisation, perhaps in the style DREAM THEATER, IRON MAIDEN style and traditional guitar work, Black Metal vocals, unpredictable songs structures, weird female choir orchestration and other random effects or sounds and that’s about as close as you’d ever get to describing the band. Of course this explanation does them no justice, as all truly progressive bands can only be heard, not expressed in words. I had not, upon listening to “Imaginary Sonicscape”, previously heard any of the occult Japanese threepiece’s work, but I’m really wondering why it took me so long to grab hold such a phenomenal band.

 

The mood and style of the music really does change dramatically from song to song. There are excellent melodies in each, especially in the tuneful choruses and it’s interesting to try and count just how many different synth sounds can be heard in each track – I can really see the band appealing to Progheads, for certain. From the “old-skool” riffing in “Scarlet Dream”, through the pure minimalist electro genius of “Nietzschean Conspiracy”, to the haunting magnificence of “Slaughtergarden Suite”, this album certainly experiments. In terms of musicianship, it’s quite amazing how versatile the three members are. One would think that there would have to be at least four band members to handle all the instruments. Mirai Kawashima deals with most of the vocals, bass guitar and keys, so there’s obviously some overdubbing in the studio and it would be interesting to see their live show, as SIGH have built up a reputation really rock on stage.

 

The production is fairly good, considering that good studio engineers are hard to come by in Japan, especially for a Metal band and the dated feel of the album is probably deliberate, as the band are huge fans of old Prog and black and white horror films – apparent from the extensive use of synth and dark, eerie piano playing.

 

To speak about the album song by song would probably be much easier than trying to sum it up in one paragraph, but seeing as that would take far too long to read, I’ll try the shorter version. “Imaginary Sonicscape” goes through a fair few styles and at first they really seem out-of-place and just delved into for the sake of it, but it has to be understood that Mirai and co know few boundaries and once you get familiar with a few songs, the whole album becomes much easy to digest and it slowly dawns that this is music that won’t be restrained. Classy, haunting, melancholy, jazzy, funky and just downright great songwriting, this is music for the open mind, but good music regardless. (Online February 17, 2006)

Tom Bartlett



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