Album Review: Sigh – Heir to Despair (Candlelight Records)

Heir to Despair is the 11th studio album by avant-garde Japanese band Sigh and was released on the 16th November 2018 via Candlelight Records.

It should not be surprising for Sigh fans, but the album has got everything from extreme metal, 60’s/70’s rock, jazz, classical, world music, dub, and noise. The music styles it covers are as wide as the world through the eyes of madness.

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The word madness sums up Sigh perfectly and Heir to Despair is a lesson in how to blend an impossible amount of influences. It shouldn’t work, it really shouldn’t but somehow Sigh take all their crazy and distil it into what we have here.

Describing this album is like trying to describe the setting sun to a blind person. You know what it is, you recognise it but being able to articulate that is no easy task. Heir to Despair is an enigma and likely to have as many who hate its kitschy style as there are those who love it.

It’s a truly unique experience in every sense of the word. From the touches of Middle Eastern sounds in the confounding Alethia to the harder metal riffs and vocals of Homo Homini Lupas, the first two tracks couldn’t be more different. Truth be told though, it’s the latter that is directly more appealing though. Not harmed by Phil Anselmo guesting on vocals.

Hunters Not Horned mix of groovy guitars and frantic vocals also makes that an appealing track at first but Sigh can’t help themselves and it’s not long before it takes a sudden turn and a flute pops in to say hello. It’s an odd section especially as the track resumes normal service shortly afterwards.

Being odd isn’t a negative but Sigh really push the limits here and it can make for a disjointed listen. There is no getting away from the obvious, this is an album that needs many listens to truly appreciate everything Sigh throw in.

Take the trio of Heresy tracks for example. I: Oblivium has trippy effects and whispered vocals, II: Acosmism is a horror-infused short one that feels pointless and III: Sub Species Aeternitatis is sweet sounding with even a child’s laugh that suddenly descends into madness. It’s such a jarring finish.

If you like your rock and metal to sound like the fever dream of a flu-sufferer then Sigh have you covered. How else can you explain the wicked rhythm of Hands of the String Puller blended with proggy guitars and flute segments? Or the growling vocals that play off the clean and sit nicely on top of some hefty riffs on the title track?

Is it good? That’s up to you to decide!

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Sigh – Heir to Despair Full Track Listing:

1. Aletheia
2. Homo Homini Lupas
3. Hunters Not Horned
4. In Memories Delusional
5. Heresy I: Oblivium
6. Heresy II: Acosmism
7. Heresy III: Sub Species Aeternitatis
8. Hands of the String Puller
9. Heir to Despair

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The album can picked up here and streamed via Spotify, Google Play and Apple Music below.


  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!

Sigh - Heir to Despair (Candlelight Records)
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