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Sigh's darkest work? - 93%

Peatman, September 18th, 2006

When an acquaintance sent me a tape containing this EP back in 1994 I was blown away, and have been an avid fan of the band ever since. I'm not sure if Euronymous still would have been, but Requiem for Fools did make him decide to sign Sigh to DSP Productions.

After a few very raw and rehearsal-sounding demos that couldn't really prove the band's potential, Sigh made a huge leap forward recording this EP. The music and production breathe an unmistakeable atmosphere that is so very late eighties, early nineties. An atmosphere that very few bands today can summon.

The Knell jumps right at you at a high pace with a set of riffs that would have made a young Chuck Schuldiner very proud. A slower and more atmospheric part with very effective keyboards breaks up the frenetic pacing perfectly.

Desolation is quite the opposite; a monstrous and dark piece of doom. Mirai's opening scream is possibly the most evil and coldest thing ever recorded in the history of metal vocals. Every time it manages to make the hairs on the back of my neck start to rise. It sets the mood perfectly; what an example this song should be to many bands. Who would have thought the sound of a simple triangle could actually have a definite darkness to it? And again, that lonely flute-sounding keyboard that adds so much more to the song.The only thing that would improve this song would be if the guitar wasn't slightly out of tune in the second half of the song.

Taste Defeat has alot of traditional doom influences and mainly plods along at a moderate pace, adding some thrashy outbursts and again a great deal of dark atmosphere. The last act features that unsettling triangle again, along with a gloomy piano and some very effectively sung vocals by Mirai, whose voice in general just sounds...Japanese. I don't think anyone from let's say the USA, Germany, Uzbekistan or Greenland could reproduce the same shrieking and mocking rasp.

This EP is also the finest hour for Satoshi, who performs both guitar and drums here. Whereas on Sigh's subsequent work his drumming was adequate but very unadventurous and mostly having a very flat sound, here he is whacking the hell out his kit and as a drummer I've always been inspired by that intense fat and cracking drum sound. His playing dominates the sound here. But he is quite the skilled guitarist at the same time, performing some solid thrash leads in The Knell apart from the very heavy and raw sounding rythm riffing in general. It is as like he settled for taking more of a relaxed back seat after Shinichi joined, after basically making up for 2/3 of the band here. Kudos to him.

All the elements that would make up the trademark Sigh sound are present here. Defiant metal solidly rooted in the more extreme eighties, Mirai's sharp black/thrash vocals, and his keyboards expressing his love for neo-classical music and old film scores, walking a fine line between haunting and melancholy. But far less present than they would be later on.

All of this poured into a bottom-heavy but semi-compressed production and making good use of effects makes Requiem for Fools possibly Sigh's darkest and old-school work, having the word c-u-l-t written all over it. Excellent!