Out in Europe since yesterday and ready to conquer North America today, March 13th, 2012 with some help from Candlelight Records, is ‘In Somniphobia’ (“a sonic nightmare that lasts for more than an hour”), the ninth studio offering from legendary extreme metal enigmas SIGH. The 11 track opus features guest appearances from MASSACRE's Kam Lee and MEADS OF ASPHODEL's Metatron, as well as cover illustration by renowned artist Eliran Kantor. Listen to full album stream here (BandCamp), where you should purchase the ‘In Somnifobia’ from, or below - courtesy the label. SIGH's video for ‘Far Beneath The In-Between’, available for your viewing pleasure below as well, was directed and edited by Yossi Darmon.
[Offered an insight into the album vocalist and keyboardist Mirai Kawashima:] “This is your sonic nightmare. This is the music that lies somewhere between your reality and imagination. This is the heaviest, scariest, craziest and by far the best album by SIGH in every aspect. Be sure to smoke first then listen to this with headphones. Bad trip guaranteed.” [Clarified things up a bit the press release:] “The musical direction is pretty much far removed from that of the last two albums, ‘Scenes From Hell’  and ‘Hangman's Hymn’ . It is not easy to describe its direction, but probably one can say that it is something between ‘Imaginary Sonicscape’ , ‘Hail Horror Hail’  and ‘Gallows Gallery’ , or rather, simply a nightmarish version of ‘Imaginary Sonicscape’. Put heavy metal, classical music, jazz, Indian traditional music, Stockhausen, and Xenakis into a cauldron of hell and stir it, you’ll get ‘In Somniphobia’. This is surrealistic, ethnic, druggy, atmospheric and definitely scary! Lots of vintage gems were used in the making of the album such as a Minimoog, Prophet-5, Clavinet D-6, Roland RE-201 Space Echo etc. along with some ethnic instruments like Indian Sarangi, Sitar, Tampura, and Tabla.”
[‘In Somniphobia’ was reviewed by Ned Raggett, AllMusic:] “But the strings and sweetness that emerge as the song progresses give a sense as to their modernity as well - a classic combination of everything that superior Japanese artists seem to always do better than anyone else, redoing possibilities from everywhere into their own distinct sounds. As a result, that ‘The Transfiguration Fear Lucid Nightmares’ sounds simultaneously like a romantic classic Mexican movie number and a chorus of the damned seems only appropriate. … Ultimately there’s a feeling of carnival at play almost in a Tim Burton[-esque manner],” [read the rest here:]
SIGH: In Somniphobia
Taking their inspiration from the '80s thrash metal while mixing in horror movie soundtrack atmospheres and synthesizer arrangements, SIGH was founded by vocalist and keyboardist Mirai Kawashima in 1990 in Tokyo, Japan. After recording a couple of demos, SIGH released an EP titled ‘Requiem For The Fools’ in 1992 (Wild Rags), and signed with Deathlike Silence Productions for their debut full-length, 1993's ‘Scorn Defeat’. The trio, comprised of bassist, keyboardist and vocalist Mirai Kawashima, guitarist Shinichi Ishikawa and drummer Satoshi Fujinami, struck a deal with Cacophonous Records next, through which they released three albums: ‘Infidel Art’ in 1995, ‘Hail Horror Hail’ in 1997, and ‘Scenario IV: Dread Dreams’ in 1999. SIGH's self-produced fifth album, ‘Imaginary Sonicscape’, was issued in 2001 on Century Media Records: “Just about every track contains some sort of bizarre “What were they thinking?” twist, such the out-of-nowhere dub-reggae breakdown in ‘Scarlet Dreams’ or the chorus of giggling babies that suddenly cuts in at the end of ‘Requiem: Nostalgia’,” praised the recording William York, AllMusic. With new drummer Junichi Harashima on board, Fujinami switched over to four strings, and as a quartet SIGH recorded their next album, 2005's ‘Gallows Gallery’ (Candlelight Records), which was re-released in 2007 by The End Records, the group's next in line of ever changing labels. Featuring a whole array of guest musicians, ‘Hangman's Hymn’ came out in 2007:
“ ‘Hangman's Hymn’s represents an unqualified return to form: back are the always unpredictable but now refocused, synthesizer flourishes and orchestral bits arranged by vocalist and keyboard wizard Mirai Kawashima; back with a vengeance are the devastating riffs and dazzling solo flights of guitarist Shinichi Ishikawa; and, more importantly, back are the speed, the attitude, the hatred - black metal, baby! … So here, praise Satan, is SIGH's glorious redemption!” [cheered Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – read the rest here]
On SIGH's next record, Kawashima relinquished most of his vocal duties to the band's newest (and prettiest) addition, vocalist and saxophonist Dr. Mikannibal (“whose death-like Cookie Monster growl proved no less fierce and fearsome than the scratchy rasps she replaced” noticed Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic). ‘Scenes From Hell’ was issued in 2010 on The End Records.
SIGH features: Mirai Kawashima – vocals and keyboards, Shinichi Ishikawa – guitar, Satoshi Fujinami – bass, Junichi Harashima – drums and Dr. Mikannibal – saxophone and vocals