Sigh – Live: Eastern Forces of Evil 2022
Release Date: 16/06/23
Running Time: 52:17
Review by Laura Barnes
Prepare to enter a world of evil. Sharpen your teeth. Tear off your skin, become a creature of bloody flesh. Visit a graveyard and lay down with the bones of the dead. Sigh are back, and there is no time to waste.
Nearly thirty years have passed since Sigh released their debut album, “Scorn Defeat” via Deathlike Silence Productions. Now, the original editions of “Scorn Defeat” are nigh impossible to find, Deathlike Silence Productions is long gone, but Sigh remain. In fact, it seems they grow more powerful with every passing year – their 2022 release “Shiki” was a work of unparalleled art, receiving critical acclaim and tearing apart eardrums everywhere. In keeping with their talent for innovation, “Live: Eastern Forces of Evil 2022” is actually a recording of a livestream they did during the pandemic, leading to fascinating results. The performance is both bombastic and personal. We hear Sigh at their most unleashed and unruly, yet the absence of a screaming audience gives this release an intimate, almost religious feel.
“Live: Eastern Forces of Evil 2022” celebrates Sigh’s career in its entirety. This performance takes us from the ice cold, chugging second wave black metal of ‘A Victory of Dakini’ to the funky progressive stylings of ‘Mayonaka no Kaii’, and it is striking how significant how each era of Sigh’s career has been, how every album has redefined them and made them into the band we know today. Even when Sigh plunge deep into the depths of grimmness (see: ‘Kuroi Kage’), there is still something inspiring and almost life-affirming about how Sigh express themselves through music. Sigh can twist sounds and riffs into shapes that hadn’t previously existed. Sigh can make you feel about 10 different emotions within a 5 minute span. And getting to hear them do this live?
Free from the inevitable sterilization inflicted by the recording studio? I believe that even a non-metalhead could listen to this album and find a newfound appreciation for the human drive to create. And not only do Sigh create incredible music, but when they perform, they really do perform. Each word and note seems as loaded with emotion and passion as it was the day it was written – if not more so. Songs like ‘Me-Devil’ and ‘The Soul Grave’ are performed with a revitalised insanity that wasn’t yet fully realised on the studio versions. Likewise, hearing these tracks live shines a light on the chemistry shared between the band members. The quickfire back-and-forth of vocalists Mirai Kawashima and Dr. Mikannibal crackles with electric energy, especially on ‘Introitus’ and ‘Inked in Blood’. ‘The Transfiguration Fear’ is another track that gains a life of its own during this performance. Immensely ferocious and with a chorus so catchy it puts Eurovision to shame, this song is perhaps the most ‘live’ sounding song on the album, and it is a testament to Sigh’s performance abilities that they are able to reach such heights without the arms of an adoring audience to push them higher (and on a much less objective note, I also REALLY enjoyed stomping around my room while chanting “INTO DARKNESS! I’M FALLING! INTO! FIRE!”).
Some may be surprised to hear that Sigh don’t actually close with an original song. However, this is not an entirely new move for them. Back in December, our very own Chris Galea reviewed a Sigh gig in London, which saw the band finish with a cover of Venom’s ‘Black Metal’. This time, Sigh pull out another gem from the extreme metal vault: Death’s ‘Evil Dead’ from 1987. Finishing their set with a cover is definitely an unorthodox choice, but also a fantastic one. It is a moment of pure joy as Sigh unabashedly celebrates those that inspired them to choose the calamitous path of heavy music, and the listener, too, feels emboldened by this joy. Creativity inspires creativity; art inspires art. The cycle continues, and no doubt that thirty years from now metal bands around the globe will be concluding their set with songs by the band that inspired them to pick up the mic and axe: Sigh.
01. Touji No Asa
02. A Victory of Dakini
04. The Transfiguration Fear
05. Kuroi Kage
07. Mayonaka no Kaii
09. The Soul Grave
11. Inked in Blood
14. Evil Dead
Mirai Kawashima – Bass/Vocals
Dr. Mikannibal – Vocals/Saxophone
Nozomu Wakai – Guitar
Takeo Shimoda – Drums
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Laura Barnes and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.