First, my cherished readers, this is not a review per se, but rather, some thoughts about “Graveward”. I have a long history with the band Sigh in terms of admiration. I remember when I first heard “Hail Horror Hail” and was stunned by the music this band created. It was different from everything I heard and what I was searching without even knowing it. Then came, after Scenario IV: Dread Dreams, an album that, in my opinion, is among the best metal releases of all time, “Imaginary Sonicscape”.
Concerning the above mentioned album, I’ve read Mirai Kawashima stating, many times, that people, at first didn’t enjoy it. Songs like “A Sunset Song”, “Slaughtergarden Suite” and “Requiem – Nostalgia”, for me, were/ eargasm induncing. But, unfortunately, the founder of Sigh is correct, many disliked “Imaginary Sonicscape”, but the test of time proved it is a masterpiece. To tell you the truth, without any fanboysm, I wholeheartedly believe that Sigh has never released a poor album. Not even one. Of course some are better than the others, this is bound to happen and surely expected, we all have our favorite ones.You might enjoy the experimentations of one better than another, but all in all, every single one of them is rich in creativity and uniqueness.
A few years later, Sigh released “Gallows Gallery”, which was another work that was, initially received with mixed feelings. At first, when I got the album, as I waited for it to arrive in order to get to know what the entire buzz was about, I found it strange. I didn’t hate it, I simply didn’t know how to feel over what I just heard. A few spins later, I loved it. It was peculiar and I guess that’s what Sigh is about, to explore new paths, to push the boundaries.
And now we have “Graveward” and Mirai Kawashina one more time is curious about what people will think of it, believing that it will be hated like “Imaginary Sonicscape” was. Greatly inspired by the Italian horror movies from the 70’s and 80’s, movies and soundtracks that I personally appreciate as well, one might say that “Graveward” is different from the predecessors and I sincerely agree, but even though this variation exists, you can find all the key-elements of a Sigh work, the bombastic parts, the atmosphere of insanity or perhaps desperation over death, experimental sounds, Mirai’s characteristic vocals, theatrical music and so much diversity with each song that, even if you don’t like the music, you sense that the musicians are talented.
But there’s a catch when it comes to my personal feelings and thoughts on “Graveward”. As I’ve mentioned before, not only I am a huge Sigh admirer, I love the movies and soundtracks that influenced this album and, as much as we try to be impartial, there are some aspects that we have such a passion that we simply can’t overlook. No matter what, I profoundly believe that all the positive perceptions I have over “Graveward” are about its quality, engagingness and allure, but, at the same time, I’d understand if someone doesn’t regard this album so highly. When it comes to music, and much like in life, it’s not a case of “getting what’s being done” or “to understand”, but simply to like it or not. As simple as that. Anyways, if you’re into experimentation, honest and passionate music, there’s a high chance of you also liking “Graveward”.
My friends, there’s one facet of this release that didn’t please me so much. See, I’m not going to only praise, I feel it’s an obligation to let you know all I’m thinking about it, if I decided to share some words about this release. And yes, like many others “fans, for the lack of a better word, it’s the production. It’s terrible at all, it just feels a bit, how can I put this, perhaps muffled. I hope you understand what I mean, as English is my third language; it’s a bit hard to describe a few things. I don’t know if Mirai wanted a sound like the old Italian Horror movies soundtracks, if it was his intention, but I genuinely think that a cleaner production would turn the listening experience of this Cinematic Horror Metal piece even more pleasant.
And to finalize this “article”, here’s some information that can be found at Candlelight Record’s official site concerning “Graveward”: The tenth studio album from Japanese noise/extreme metal merchants is an ambitious endeavor. Taking over two and a half years to write/record, each song had over 100 recording tracks exceeding 100GB of audio to select from in the final mixes. Features guest perfrmances from Matthew Heafy (Trivium), Fred Leclercq (Dragonforce), Niklas Kvarforth (Shining Sweden), Sakis Tolis (Rotting Christ), and Metatron (The Meads of Asphodel).
Album: Graveward (2015)
Label: Candlelight Records
- Kaedit Nos Pestis
- The Tombfiller
- The Forlorn
- The Molesters of My Soul
- Out of the Grave
- The Trial by the Dead
- The Casketburner
- A Messenger from Tomorrow
- Dwellers in a Dream
Mirai Kawashima – Bass, Vocals, Keyboards, Samples, Programming, Vocoder
You Oshima – Guitars
Dr. Mikannibal – Saxophone, Vocals
Junichi Harashima – Drums
Satoshi Fujinami – Drums, Guitars, Bass
Official Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/SIGH-official-page/227550909275
Official Homepage: http://sigh.thebase.in/
All photos belong to their rightful owners.April 13, 2015