SIGH  Scorn Defeat  2 x LP   (The Crypt)   28.99

A super-limited new vinyl reissue of Sigh's debut album Scorn Defeat released by the revivalists over at The Crypt. This new 2017 edition features the original release on the first LP and a second LP of bonus material that apparently appears here for the first time, including the three early mix tracks ("The Knell", "At My Funeral", and "Taste Defeat"), and a live soundboard recording taken from an August 1991 at Harajuku Los Angeles Club, Tokyo. The records come in a heavyweight gatefold jacket that copies the original Deathlike Silence cover and layout. Here's our original review for the album:

There's few black metal bands as quirky and strange as Japan's Sigh, who have been delivering their whacked-out brand of cinematic prog-influenced blackthrash since the early 1990's. The band burst into the black metal underground when their debut album Scorn Defeat was released in 1993 on Deathlike Silence, the label run by Euronymous from Mayhem, and Sigh's debut would become legendary for being the last release on the label before Euronymous was murdered. But even if Scorn Defeat hadn't been caught in the shadow of the events chronicled in Lords Of Chaos, this album would still have become one of the great cult classics of the second wave of black metal just for it's sheer weirdness. From Imaginary Sonicscape (the band's brilliant 2001 masterpiece) onward, Sigh has become one of the world's most psychedelic metal bands, blending together Wagnerian bombast and 70's psychedelia and jazz fusion and Venom and John Zorn into a unique and mind-boggling sound of their own, but it might surprise a lot of fans that haven't heard Sigh's earliest material just how oddball the band was even in the beginning. Compared to their later albums, Scorn Defeat is obviously a black metal album, with lots of killer fast paced buzzsaw riffing and blastbeats and slower dirgier parts, and the song titles and lyrics all pointed towards the kind of death worship that no doubt had the Norwegian black metal kids bugging out. But then there's the weird band photos, with the not-quite-right corpse paint makeup that's way more kabuki than necro, and the band doing battle with fuckin' maces while Mirai breathes fire in the background...and then there's the music itself, a ripping black metal attack that's heavily influenced by the primitive sound of classic Venom, but which is injected with weird prog-rock interludes, classical piano (that's shockingly competent compared to what most bands were doing with keyboards back then), subtle psychedelic overtones and other elements that made it abundantly clear that Sigh were not just another black metal band...

The first song "A Victory Of Dakini" is as heavy and blackened as anything off their most recent, and already pointed towards the wild, avant-garde direction that Sigh would continue in; the songs kicks off with a halting doomy dirge and some acoustic guitar over top, then lurches into a plodding black metal riff with that unique majestic quality that all of Sigh's riffs have, super catchy but dark and evil, and it winds through slower sections of gloomy acoustic strum and grim mid-paced dirge with Mirai's distinctive raspy vocals. But then towards the end of the song, the band breaks off into a weird punky riff that suddenly erupts into an insane Hendrix-style acid-guitar freak-out complete with jazzy bass, which goes on for a minute or so, stops abruptly, and then goes right back in to the gloomy black dirge, only this time the band backs the music with beautiful Pink Floyd-like vocal harmonies and Hammond-like keyboards. It's the sort of jarring and bizarre shift in tone that won't surprise anyone who's heard their classic Imaginary Sonicscape album, but I bet that this confused quite a few black metallers back in 1993.

"The Knell" is more straightforward black metal, thrashing buzz-saw guitars and scorched vocals, epic melodies clashing with squealing Slayerized solos, but as the song progresses, it starts to reveal another proggy arrangement, this time moving into passages of heavy keyboard and acoustic guitar that alternate with the heavier parts, and culminating in a blazing psychedelic climax with ripping harpsichord solos (!) and angelic vocal choirs. "At My Funeral" gets even stranger, mixing up that Venom-esque mid-paced plod with more tinkling piano lines, soaring choral synths, and a killer theatrical part that kicks in during the middle.

On "Gundali", the guitars are excised completely for another theatrical sounding piece that combines church organs / harpsichord keys, Mirai speaking in a low, creepy whisper, tambourines and a simple repetitive drumbeat into a cinematic dirge that later turns into a purely instrumental performance of classical piano. The black metal returns on the next song, though, and it's one of my favorites - "Ready For The Final War" is another proggy blackthrash anthem, with some of the most crushing riffage on the album, going from synth-driven drama to raging high-speed thrash to one of those immensely rocking and catchy Venom-chugs that, again, turns into a pure piano piece at the end, one that's so beautiful and jazzy it's as much of a shock as any of the other moments of weirdness that have previously appeared on the album. The rest of Scorn Defeat is loaded with these amazing what-the-fuck moments, like the jazz piano that pops up in the middle of the black metal anthem "Weakness Within", or the Floydian atmospherics and chiming triangles (how often do you hear those on a black metal album?) on "Taste Defeat".

Track Samples:
Sample : SIGH-Scorn Defeat
Sample : SIGH-Scorn Defeat
Sample : SIGH-Scorn Defeat