Sigh - Graveward
Candlelight Records
Avant-Garde Metal
10 songs (49:35)
Release year: 2015
Sigh, Candlelight Records
Reviewed by Goat

It's taken me awhile to get into the latest release from avant-garde experimental crazies Sigh, not least because I enjoyed 2012's Insomniphobia so much that more of the same felt like a let-down from a band so used to challenging themselves and their audience. And to be sure, while Graveward is another welcome slice of the band's deceptively haphazard everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach to songwriting, it's not as instantaneously appealing, as fun, or as deep as Insomniphobia. The opening track Kaedit Nos Pestis alone proves this, a chaotic mixture of sounds backed by keyboard-backed thrash riffs soon turning lighter with solo upon solo and breaks for orchestral trills; at moments it feels right and is enjoyable, but elsewhere it feels like the band trying too hard to mix genres. This doesn't make it bad, far from it, but experienced Sighers will expect a little more than is offered here.

Fortunately the following title track is much better, opening with a more reasoned and ominous orchestral intro before turning to 80s heavy metal with a touch of prog, the riffs straightforward enough but everything else, from vocals to keyboards, bewilderingly odd. There's the foundations of a solid metal track beneath it all, even with a guitar solo, but as experimental and downright amusing as it is, the lack of the solid songwriting that held Insomniphobia together is here a serious failing. There are exceptions, of course, the silly but catchy enough Tombfiller one example, bringing the orchestral elements into line and making them work to the betterment of the track overall...

From then on, however, it's a bit of a mixed bag, the weirdly Slayer-esque riffs of The Forlorn an interesting step sideways but soon undone by the downright weird nightmarescape of The Molesters of My Soul. The galloping strangeness continues through the thrashy Out of the Grave, complete with King Diamond-esque chorus, yet The Trial By the Dead is downright unremarkable by Sigh standards, focusing far too much on oddball orchestral elements and neglecting the metal base, and The Casketburner would verge on boring were it not for the widdly lead guitar and funky keyboard solo towards the end.

So Sigh may have (slightly) dropped the ball on the songwriting aspect, but it doesn't hurt to praise the band for their strengths – the musicianship is absolutely solid, for instance, with new guitarist You Oshima of Kadenzza fame more than performing his role as lead guitarist excellently, replacing the terrific Shinichi Ishikawa who has played on every Sigh album since Scorn Defeat. As far as Sigh albums go, this isn't a poor one, but it doesn't stand out from the pack, and while fans will be pleased at what is, after all, a solid album, it's hard to praise wholeheartedly. Yet even newcomers to the band will find enough of interest to make this intriguing as an introduction to Sigh. Filling, but not satisfying.

Killing Songs :
Graveward, Tombfiller, Out of the Grave
Goat quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Sigh that we have reviewed:
Sigh - In Somniphobia reviewed by Goat and quoted 93 / 100
Sigh - Ghastly Funeral Theatre reviewed by Crash and quoted no quote
Sigh - Scenes From Hell reviewed by James and quoted 82 / 100
Sigh - Infidel Art reviewed by James and quoted 90 / 100
Sigh - Scorn Defeat reviewed by James and quoted 98 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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