Japaneses Black Metalers "Sigh" have been around since the scenes earliest of days. Back in 1990 the group released a couple of demos of grim, rough and primitive Black / Thrash Metal on the other side of the globe, even before the scenes flourishing in Norway. It wasn't until 95's "Infidel Art" that the group started to break away from the traditional sound and show sparks of their own flair. The group would further explore avant-guard sounds and ideas that lead them to their 2001 magnum opus "Imaginary Sonicscape". Since then the bands experimentation and shifting of theme and direction has been hit and miss, mainly the later and Gravewards announcement was unexpected, but didn't rouse much excitement.
Its undoubtedly one of Sigh's best sounding records from a technical perspective, having suffered with patchy, inconsistent production in the past, Graveward has a solid mix that energizes the array of non traditional elements that became the most exciting moments alongside the gruff, grizzly guitars and harsh, raspy screams that didn't offer many new ideas, but provided an adequate footing for the albums more extravagant ideas. Alongside the metalic elements, orchestral horns, trumpets, organs, synths and strings blaze in and out of focus, jumping in at any moment to take over the direction of the guitars, and often the moments they become the main focus are the best in the song. These elements themselves have captured a nostalgic, ancient feel too, taking on a historic feel, that once again the orchestral elements home in on, in contrast the Black Metal undertone.
The song "Molesters Of My Soul" is the records most experimental, avant-guard track and for its richer depth of ideas, ranging from Metal solos, to glitched out electronics and all sorts of symphony in between, its a great example of whats not working on this record. All the grander moments are spliced between mediocre metal and harsh screams that cut the atmosphere like a knife. Usually this chemistry is the groups success and the lack of songs stuck in my mind was a clear indication that the songwriting was off the mark on this one.
Favorite Songs: Graveward, The Tombfiller, The Trail By The Dead,