A new Sigh album is always somewhat of an event, and you never really quite know what you’re going to be getting yourself into with it. This latest album follows on after the symphonic blackened offering of 2015’s Graveward, but distances itself from its predecessor quite significantly by giving us 53 minutes of material that’s been influenced by folk and old/obscure progressive rock more than ever before.
Yes, Heir to Despair is full of exotic, psychedelic moments, many progressive/avant-garde explorations, and quite rampant experimentation. This seems only fitting really, as the theme of the album is apparently insanity.
Sigh are still a metal band though, at their core at least, so we still get thrash and black metal elements within the mayhem and chaos of Heir to Despair’s individual delivery, but these are not the main event at all. It’s a very diverse album, and covers a lot of ground. Probably the most traditionally metal song of the lot, (within the current context), is Homo Homini Lupus, which features guest vocals from Phil Anselmo, and has a fast, thrash-influenced attack. Homo Homini Lupus is largely an anomaly on the album though, despite it being the album’s first video. Other songs contrast this by having very little metal components at all, such as the album’s centrepiece, the Heresy Trilogy.
Enhanced by keyboards and other instruments such as flute, the majority of the album has a personal feel, with folk, Indian, Asian, and progressive influences mangled and twisted into an unreal examination of what progressive music can achieve if handled correctly. Each song here offers something different, and the entire album is a feast of atypical delights and unusual musical fruits. It’s very effective at what it does, however, and this is a very strong addition to Sigh’s extensive discography.
Epic and unique, Sigh continue to change and challenge themselves with each album, (and sometimes with each song). Heir to Despair is one of their more expressive and progressive releases, which is saying something given the band’s history.
As always, Sigh’s work remains an essential listen for anyone into non-standard extreme music.