Scorn Defeat Deluxe Edition, Double CD
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Cult debut album by Japan's most experimental black metal act reissued as a Double CD 8-Panel Digipak with a massive amount of bonus tracks never before collected together. Includes “Scorn Defeat” album, “Requiem for Fools” EP, Split EP w/ Kawir, “Desolation” Demo, “Tragedies” Demo, covers of Mayhem & Venom, and other unreleased tracks. Features stunning cover artwork by Chris Moyen and layout by Mike Riddick. Available Now!!
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There's a lot to establish in order to pin down the sound Sigh has on Scorn Defeat. First, let us do a little "fact or fiction":
1) The "avant-garde" label that applies to their later material doesn't really apply here. Sigh would soon become a band to use a full orchestra to create their own version of theatrical black metal.
2) "Avant-garde" anyway is a sort of cop-out when someone can't come up with a better term. It's like the new "heavy metal."
3) Like many of the Norwegian black metal bands that actually started off as/playing death metal (Darkthrone, Phobia -> Enslaved, Old Funeral -> Burzum/Immortal, Embryonic/Thou Shalt Suffer -> Emperor), Sigh shows signs of death metal roots (especially in "The Knell," which is also from the EP that preceded this album).
4) Production and overall approach is pre-Transylvanian Hunger (even "Natassja In Eternal Sleep"). This sounds very much like A Blaze In the Northern Sky, or Mutiilation's Black Millenium album. Both albums are post-first generation, but lean away from using blastbeats or tremolo riffs.
Now let's discuss what actually IS here:
Like Gehenna, Satyricon, Ragnarok, Vinterland, and Midvinter, Sigh uses a variety of keyboards here without approaching the threshold that crosses over to symphonic black metal. Production is as clear as you would ever ask out of this time period. No, it's not as crisp as Metallica's Black album, but everything here is more than audible. Keyboards are of the 50's horror movie persuasion - not the more polished type that began showing up with Limbonic Art's Moon in the Scorpio in 1996. Merge Gehenna's Black Seared Heart demo/compilation with a smattering of A Blaze In the Northern Sky and some Judas Iscariot/Mutiilation and you'll come pretty close to Sigh.
Very little here is fast, but don't let that trick you into thinking that this leans towards the Viking persuasion. There ARE a few bands - very few - that play this slower type of black metal without it leaning into Viking land or the doom metal world. Many of the bands mentioned in "3)" above make better comparisons to Sigh than what you generally think of when you think of early-second wave black metal: Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Mayhem, Dissection, Unanimated, Graveland, Rotting Christ, Marduk, Abigor, and Moonblood. Sigh shares little in common with any of these bands.
Songs here are unexpectedly and impressively diverse. "Gundali," for one, ends with a very noteworthy piano performance that I wouldn't be surprised to one day discover was originally written by Beethoven (or Janne Warmen for his solo project, for that matter). So does "Ready For the Final War." "The Knell," "Ready For the Final War," and "Weakness Within" all have strong death metal foundations, at least for parts of the songs. Vocals are surprisingly understandable throughout, recalling again Gehenna's Black Seared Heart. "Weakness Within" contains some of the only blastbeats found here.
As the other reviewers have already stated, lyrics come from Japanese culture. Expect nothing like you've ever heard out of Europe before. Speaking of uniquely Japanese - these piano outros are reminding me a little bit of themes from role-playing video games when you're navigating through either blizzard-covered mountains or sad scenes. (So again - avant-garde isn't the best label to use here. Video games are not avant-garde.) Lyrics are philosophical, not Satanic.
If you do some digging, you will find many, many pre-Transylvanian Hunger second generation black metal bands that you never thought existed. Take the Les Légions Noires for example. I've been doing this for the last 18 months or so and I still can't get over all of the gems I've found. There's so much more to black metal than to say that Behemoth is the ONLY bm band to come from Poland, that Rotting Christ and Necromantia are the ONLY bm bands to come out of Greece, that Nokturnal Mortum is the ONLY bm band to come out of Ukraine, and so on. It's almost fortunate (in a backwards sort of way) that just enough of these bands "sold out" beginning in the late 90's so fans would work backwards to discover this wonderful material from the early 90's. (I can't believe I just said that.)
I encourage any outgoing black metal fans to listen this. It's hard not to like.
I once bought this cd before and returned it because it didn't really appeal to me because I was used to the sounds of the Swedish and Norweigian black metal bands, and this sounded so different and hard to absorb. But as time passed I remembered that I had one song of this album on a Black Metal compilation called Blackend Vol 1. After listening to that song a few times more I had realized that I had made a big mistake returning that cd. Then one day I found it in a second hand store and grabbed it.
The songs on this album are nothing like later SIGH. This is pure black metal with keyboards coming in sometimes (not like Cradle Of Filth) These guys are much more relaxed than your regular black metal band, but the darkness and anger are present, even if one might not hear it straight away. The songs are not blistering fast like that of Dark Funeral, but they do reach a climax sometimes which is very exciting. Of all the black metal bands I've heard the ones this is most similar to is early Marduk and early Dark Throne, and as you know those are two completely different bands and are still so diffent to SIGH even more then each other.
The cover is also very cool, it's one of the band members holding a sword in one hand and the other hand is on fire, he is near a lake and it looks cold, due to the entire photo being in black and white with a light green/blue tint, and the fire on his hand is in colour. This is one of my favourite cd cover art.
THIS IS A MUST HAVE IF YOU ARE A DEDICATED BLACK METAL FAN AND NEED TO HEAR A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT APPROACH TO THE GENRE.
I have just uploaded the cd cover onto Amazon's website, to see it click on the link that says 'see 1 customer image' which is below the empty space where the pic usually is.