Released: 2012, Candlelight Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
In Somniphobia is the 9th full length Album from Black/Avant-garde Metal Band Sigh, And as usual with these guys describing it isn`t easy! In their 22 year history these Japanese metallers have dabbled in numerous sounds and styles But have always remained (kind of) Grounded in the Black Metal scene. This remains the same here in what could be their most eclectic work to date. Black metal yes, but mainly in the vocals, musically it is all over the place including: Jazz,Soft Rock,Power/classic metal,Traditional Indian Music,classical,Horror Soundscapes,Spoken Word and Probably a few more that don`t even have a classification yet.
To help give this album an organic and authentic sound the band have used many items of vintage equipment such as a Minimoog, Prophet-5, Clavinet D-6, Roland RE-201 Space Echo and they have used ethnic instruments like Indian Sarangi, Sitar, Tampura, and Tabla.These items really help enforce the druggy,out there sound the band were looking for,sonically bringing to mind a load of stoned hippies in 70`s attire dancing round a fire. Kam Lee (ex-Massacre, Bone Gnawer) and Metatron (The Meads of Asphodel) contributed to the lyrics and the vocals for “Lucid Nightmares”. The Beautiful cover artwork for "In Somniphobia" was created by Eliran Kantor, who has previously worked with TESTAMENT, ATHEIST, ANACRUSIS and GWAR.
On paper all these ingredients mixed together sound like they are going to create a messy sonic stew,but it is still very melodic,accessible and indeed rocking! There are some wonderful classic guitar solos here,that wouldn`t sound out of place on a Judas Priest album. On the faster songs Sigh remind Me of Children Of Bodom,mixing a fast power metal style gallop with vintage keys and a raspy Black metal vocal. The slower paced atmospheric songs are a nice change of pace and are like a hybrid of background Jazz music,ethnic flavoured Prog rock and Vintage horror film soundtracks punctuated by some Deep,and at times High pitched Black metal Vocals,a hard concept to get your head around but somehow it works, and very well. Repeated listens are rewarded with more layers being revealed to your ears.This is not an album to be listened to once!
It is fitting that Metatron From The Meads Of Asphodel brings some lyrics and vocals to the table,as It is his bands "The excommunication Of Christ" I would use as the closet comparison.
Opening track "Purgatorium" is the best example of their Rocking fast paced side and The title Track "Somniphobia" best showcases their slower atmospheric sound.Although most of the songs here combine the best of both worlds.For me personally the final track is the best of the lot,a fast paced beginning with great piano,duelling vocals and an addictive vocal chant of "kill me now" making you want to get up and dance! the song is finished off with a wonderful guitar solo,and then a nice atmospheric piece,A great end to the album.The level of skill here to bring so many diverse sounds together is incredible and one can`t help but admire and indeed enjoy what has been Produced.You can only wonder what comes next...
Review by James Anthony Price