SIGH – Scenes from Hell

Embarking on the latest “S” album, SIGH has given up the Japanese occult themes from the early albums and instead offers up a three-part orchestration of horror within Scenes from Hell.

The first part of the three-part album is “Prelude to the Oracle”, and the track itself starts off with a riff very similar to the chorus of DEATH’s “Scream Bloody Gore.” Mirai’s traditional black metal vocals and Dr. Mikannibal’s lower growls switch off and balance out Junichi’s simple drum beats. Junichi’s style is basic, and better suited for the likes of the jam-filled A Tribute to Venom EP. “L’art de Mourir” tries to be strange and avant-garde like the songs from Scenario IV: Dread Dreams, but ends up sounding more like a circus soundtrack. Luckily, “The Soul Grave” incorporates more fitting arrangements of the horn sections, and segues into the next part of the album.

The Red Funeral” starts off with a Dani Filth-ish spoken part, then a barrage of simplistic riffs and an overdose of horns dominates the song. “The Summer Funeral” has a slow march feel to it with grandiose solo work by Shinichi, and would indeed be a great funeral march song. “Musica in Tempora Belli” is a straightforward track with a nice classical break in the middle, with some double bass action thrown in the mix to begin the final phase of this chapter.

The last section of this album, “Vanitas,” is the most metal section out of the entire disc, with vibrant melody parts and better structured arrangements. The title track, “Scenes from Hell” ends this soundtrack of horror, and turns out to be the most coherent and solid track on the album, with everything finally coming together at last. It’s a shame that only the last two tracks offer solid song structure without resorting to the overindulgence of brass instruments and orchestration.

Scenes from Hell lacks the avant-garde, weirdness of Imaginary Sonicscape and the eerie epic black metal featured on Infidel Art; instead, this album shines in certain areas, includes some haphazard orchestration, and is just mediocre other times. While the disc is decent, mastermind Mirai needs to make up his mind about how much of his music he wants to be strange and avant-garde, straight up black metal, or a combination of both. (The End Records)

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