Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sigh: Graveward (2015)

Sigh would most likely be the craziest thing to come out of their own country, if they were from anywhere other than Japan. But as the popular wisdom has it, Japan is home to some crazy pop culture. Now, it’s been my experience that crazy Japanese pop culture stuff is mostly terrible, and occasionally brilliant. Sigh has been mostly brilliant. I mean, their last album was just one example of a brilliant masterpiece. At their worst, they’re just pretty good.

Graveward isn’t one of their best albums. It’s not one of their worst, either. Over the course of their long and storied career, the Japanese masterminds have honed their craft to a level that they’re simply not capable of putting out weak material.

In true Sigh tradition, it combines black metal with rock and roll and a dozen other random elements like synth and brass and opera. In true Sigh tradition, a lot of it is damn catchy, too.

Graveward lacks the epic, incongruously cohesive scope of classics like Imaginary Sonicscape or In Somniphobia. It’s not as wild and weird, doesn’t push the band’s already-broad boundaries any further. But it doesn’t have to. It’s still excellent. It’s still one of the weirdest and greatest experiences you could have in metal.

But then again, Sigh records have this curious way of getting better and better each time I listen to them. What starts in my mind as a good album gradually becomes a year-end list contender. This one might take a while to sink in, too.

The Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

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