Sigh – Heir to Despair Review


Sigh is a Japanese metal import that I first discovered between their Hangman’s Hymn and Scenes from Hell albums. The best way I can describe Sigh to most people is a Japanese Black Metal Mr. Bungle. I know that is a lot of unpack, but if you listen to this band’s discography especially the later part of it you will see their transition from a more standard black metal sound to a more avant-garde style of metal. They are a band that loves to throw curve balls at the listener and push their sound in all kinds of directions. I never know what I will get with a new Sigh record, but I always know it will be interesting and brutal.


  1. Aletheia – The album kicks off with an almost Middle Eastern sounding guitar part. Sitars and other sound effects layer the intro of the song and eventually lead singer Mirai Kawashima’s voice breaks through the instrumentation with a mixture of clean vocals followed by some growls. The song is more of a slower affair layered with vocal effects and even a little bit of the flute. The song also allows the band to jam out on different variations of the same main riff from this song. The melody in this song is pretty cool for it being a more chill song compared to a lot of stuff they do.
  2. Homo Homini Lupus – The second song on their album starts off as more of a traditional metal song. It starts out with some classic heavy metal sounding guitars before it divulges into more of a thrashy guitar riff with more growling vocals. The song is very upbeat with small parts of clean vocals splattered through all the heavier parts. The guitar playing is very frantic. Some parts of the song feel like extended solos, but get broken up before they over stay their welcome. Towards the end of the song they have a break down where they slow the song down and build it up layering riff on top of riff with some weird sound effects before going back to ramming speed. I really love some of the riffs in this song.
  3. Hunters Not Horned – This song starts off at a mid-paced swing with some clean vocals, sound effects, and minimal instruments sprinkled in. The overall vibe the riffs in this song give me are more of a rock and roll feel. Kawashima goes back and forth between harsh and clean vocals. About half way through the song they slow things down for a break down that has a rock the fuck out meets chill tribal drum session vibe in equal parts. They add more backing vocals as the song comes towards its conclusion. The last few minutes of this song are mostly instrumental and are very atmospheric as all the sounds slowly wind down to a halt. 
  4. In Memories Delusional – In Memories Delusional is definitely the hardest song on the album thus far and possibly the hardest on the album in general. From the 1st note Sigh opens the flood gates to driving and brooding guitars. Thrashy guitar parts are layered through the whole song with the drums storming along the whole track. Kawashima’s vocals alternate between mostly harsh with some singing here and there. About 2 minutes into the song there is a pretty sweet guitar solo they ride out while there is all kinds of technical brutality layered in the back ground. You can definitely here some of their past black metal influence well in this song. This song rarely lets up the intensity and the guitar work on it is killer. Definitely one of my favorite songs on the album.
  5. Heresy 1: Oblivium – This song probably has one of the weirder starts on the album. There is a very subtle slow surf rock vibe as Kawashima whispers lyrics that echo with other random sound effects added in. The song is probably their most experimental song on the album. Guitars really don’t kick in until almost 3 minutes into the song. There is somewhat of an electronic influence on this song, but worry not metal purists by the 4 minute mark they start churning out some evil sounding riffs to break up some of the experimentation which is quickly followed by more experimentation. This song is part of a 3 song trilogy on the album. Towards the end they add more of a doom metal sound with keyboard effects and vocal effects as the song comes to a conclusion.
  6. Heresy 2: Acosmism – I feel like this song is more of an intro than an actual song. It has an ominous beat repeating in the back ground with someone talking in vocals that have weird effects on them. In general it goes with the 1st part of the trilogy, but by itself it really doesn’t add much to the album. It is under 2 minutes so it at least doesn’t overstay its welcome. 
  7. Heresy 3: Sub Species Aeternitatis – The closing song of the trilogy starts out with very melancholy sounding guitars. The guitars sound the same the whole song with Kawashima singing very lightly over them. As with most of their songs on this album and others they do they like layering sound effects on top of each other. This is probably some of the softest signing you will hear Kawashima do on the album. I feel like they made his vocals more in the background because of how clean they were, and just as the band starts to go into the happy world of clean vocals and pretty sounding guitars the song changes over to random sound clips as another super short song ends. I honestly think they could have made the trilogy one song, because all three songs really don’t stand by themselves, but I can see why they did it. All three songs are definitely on the more experimental side of things, but they also sound completely different.
  8. Hands of The String Puller – After the lull of the trilogy of Hersey Sigh incorporate an atmospheric build up to remind us again that through all the sound effects and non-traditional instruments they are still a metal band. There are a lot of tasty riffs scattered all over this song. Kawashima’s vocal attack on parts of this song are some of the most blood thirsty sounding parts he has on the whole album. They even throw in some math rock sounding riffs a little over half way through this song. I know it’s not everyone’s thing, but Sigh is known to incorporate the flute on multiple songs on an album. The flute parts on this song are probably my favorite and I feel really add to the overall sound of the song. It’s hard to incorporate the flute into a metal album, but these guys get that right more than wrong.
  9. Heir to Despair – The closing song is the title track of the album and the longest song on the album. The 1st minute or so of the song has guitars going off soloing and smashing the listener with boisterous and rocking riffs. About 2 minutes into the song keyboard and sound effects again come into play with Kawashima’s spoken vocals layering the song. Once we get to the 4 minute mark the guitars come back to the forefront of the song, but only briefly before going back to the spoken word/softly sung vocals over the keyboard and drum parts. This is followed with more sound clips and weird sounds. The last 3-4 minutes of this song are largely instrumental with all instruments and other layering sounds rocking out to their fullest until the song breaks down into a bunch of noise and distorted sounds.

As with all Sigh albums (especially the later you go into their career) you come across them blending more genres and instruments into their songs. That is one of the reasons I always enjoy listening to them. I also feel they are one of those bands that makes albums that should be listened to from front to back. There is a lot of diversity on their albums and sometimes some of their songs seem out of place unless you listen to the sum of all the parts. Their newest album follows the same experimental tendencies and even takes them in new places. I would love to see these guys live because I hear their live shows are insane. Regardless if you like metal with some other sounds thrown in and haven’t checked out Sigh do yourself a favor. To someone like me that listens to all genres of metal they are a breath of fresh air and a band I can always count on to surprise me.


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