Band: Sigh
Title: In Somniphobia
Label: Candlelight Records
Distribution: Bertus
Release date: March 12th 2012
Review: CD

One of the most ‘popular’ bands from the extremer Japanese scene are Sigh, of course - slowly, after more than twenty years of existence (the band was formed at the end of the eighties and therefore one of the oldest still-active acts from Japan), coming close to two hands of full length recordings, and with experienced and rather well-known individuals in their ranks - amongst whom ‘singer’ Mirai Kawashima, known from several Japanese yet also ‘international’ acts from the extremest regions of the Metal worlds (some with Phil Anselmo!...)
[Mirai was, besides lead singer, Sigh’s bass player until 2004; that year, another original member, Satoshi Fujinami, took over the bass duties; Satoshi did the drums until former Hellchild-member Junishi Harashima get recruited as permanent drummer in 2004 - ivan]
[Mirai’s colleague in The Meads Of Asphodel, Metraton, acts as guest for the second time; he did collaborate on Gallows Gallery before - ivan]
[another remarkable guest: Kam Lee…!...; check out the newest The Grotesquery-album Tsathoggua Tales - ivan]
[other members: guitar player Shinishi Ishikawa, as from 1992 (!), who’s also in Cut Throat, another act with Mirai, + he did some live performances with Abigail as well; and ex-29 Jaguar / Providence’s Dr. Mikkanibal, who takes care of saxophone and female vocals since almost five years; she has, by the way, a PhD in Physics from some university from Tokyo - ivan].

Duration: almost forty five minutes. Still in the vein of the past, yet ever evolving (you can’t ignore the deracination from the latest records!). In Somniphobia is a subtle and sublime symbiosis of different styles, especially Metal-focused, of course (Power, Heavy, Groove, Death, Traditional, Black, Doom, Thrash and Folk Metal), mixed with elements from hundreds of other genres: Avant-Garde, Jazz, Folk (seen from different angles), varied ethnic stuff (lots of Indian material in here), horror movie soundtracks, Synth-Pop, Electronics, Space, Ambient, Classical Music, Oriental, Opera / Operetta, Punk, Musical, Industrial, Lounge, Stanley Kubrick-meets-David Lynch, Karlheinz Stockhausen-meets-John Zorn, Progressive Music, and all Sigh-stuff ever done before (with a focus on releases like Imaginary Soniscape). The approach is extremely divers again, yet what to think about the different additional instrumental, beside a ‘typical’ Metal / Rock instrumentation (read: drums, electric and lead and bass guitars): sax, organ, mini-moog, chimes and bells, harmonium, different synths and keyboards, grand piano, sitar, all kinds of percussion and so on. Including soundscapes and excerpts from whatever… On top, a huge differentiation on vocals: screams and grunts, harmony chants, operatic vocals, choirs, whispers and spoken words, and so on, and so on.
It’s like a really surrealistic trip through scary and oppressive spheres, yet in a mostly open-minded way.
Inconvenient or genial? Both of them, so think twice.
The band and the label recommend ‘smoking before trying this stuff’, yet with the current ridiculously narrow-minded new laws in our countries, I’d recommend a couple (or some couples) of nice Scottish-original earthy single malts as alternative. Never mind: only for those who like weirdness the most obscure way…


Ivan Tibos.