Sigh: Graveward

Japan’s psych-metal luminaries prove a scream

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Written in homage to classic b-movie horror, Graveward is an almost overwhelming sensory assault, the equivalent of King Diamond channel-surfing through 80s video nasties while singing along to all your favourite metal bands, many of whom actually make guest appearances, from Trivium’s Matt Heafy and Dragonforce’s Fred Leclercq to Shining’s arch-terrifier Niklas Kvarforth, among others.

It took two years to record, but in less than five minutes Kaedit Nos Pestis gleefully tears through pretty much every metal subgenre, backed by a chattering goblin choir. Tombfiller, borne on a battle metal clarion call, bursts with monster movie melodramatics, while the neck-snapping bombast of Casketburner sees necrotic screamer Mirai Kawashima soothed only by smooth jazz piano.

Masterfully tying such disparity together throughout is new guitarist You Oshima, cranking out one riotously overdriven and irradiated thrash riff after another. In lesser hands such a maelstrom may descend into chaos, but Sigh have proven time and again to be maestros of such avant-garde antics.

That Graveward sounds so different to its regal predecessor In Somniphobia is testament to their ability to create experiences of such challenging diversity, but it’s how much fun they are to listen to that truly sets them apart./o:p