SIGH – Scenes from Hell CD
The End Records
Over the years I’ve devised a formula for listening to every new release from this long time Japanese black metal outfit. The formula is simply “after four listens you’ll get it”. That idea has led me to liking a handful of releases from their vast catalog and the VENOM tribute release doesn’t count. Anyone can cover VENOM and make it sound decent. Hell the band MIDNIGHT is just one big fucking VENOM tribute and they’re good. So after four listens in one sitting I’m not turning Japanese if you know what I mean and remember that VAPORS song. Although every time I stare at a photo of Dr. Mikannibal, the hottest sax player in Metal, I get a hankering to visit this Japanese restaurant downtown. I’m no fan of the sushi, I’ll eat the cooked food on the menu, but I just like staring at the hot waitresses. But enough of my Asian sex fantasies, although I think bringing her into SIGH was the best thing this band could’ve done. The woman is sure to be a feature in a Revolver spread which fat guys in BLACK LABEL SOCIETY shirts will enjoy but on the music front Mikannibal does add alot to this already talented band. One of the first things you notice are her death grunt and growl added vocals which complement Mirai’s blackened harsh shrieking. Another thing is her saxophone playing which does stand out on a few tracks.
The addition of Dr. Mikannibal hasn’t changed the band’s brand of blackened thrash meets avant garde symphonic metal. What does separate Scenes from Hell from their recent past releases is that the symphonic elements (it’s that damm saxophone) fly out at you like daggers. There are times when things do get a little overwhelming and annoying like when the keyboards drown out the guitars but like I said earlier, it takes four listens. Another difference from past releases is that Scenes from Hell has a dirty quality sound wise. Kinda like being in a badly lighted Japanese restaurant where you need a lighter to read the menu and suddenly all the specials move. Yeah that’s a hellish restaurant and this release is all about experiences in Hell or their interpretation of it. Some cuts convey that feeling well like on “Musica in Tempora Belli” with it’s great duel vocal standoff or “L’art de Mourir” which starts off as a brutal assault but ends in an orchestration which still carries a sense of peril. All in all after four listens I get it.