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With Scorn Defeat, Sigh already found their path, the direction they wanted to head to. They have some trademark elements throughout the album though obviously it is completely different from any of their following works. As common points, regardless of their albums, they have a sound far from traditional metal, are an untouchable whole, are consistent as they can and have a fitting production. Add in some interesting lyrics often about Japanese mythology or occultism or some concept, some thrash or other varied influences and you have one of Sigh's more than solid releases.
Scorn Defeat is often labelled as black metal though it is nowhere near anything traditional, there are some evident thrash metal influences and some occasional doom ones, has some unusual sounds or parts that Sigh will continue to develop on later releases. After listening to the first track, "A Victory of Dakini", you know Scorn Defeat is no ordinary black metal. The song is slow paced and has a dark atmosphere with some acoustic guitars, keyboards and distant clean vocals. Overall, there's some doom influences but after some minutes, a thrash riff is being played, with some kind of harsh laughter, at increasing speed and then breaks down with a rock solo by Sinichi who goes crazy on his guitar while Mirai plays some cheerful bass notes and scream some indecipherable things. Then it ends abruptly and after a few seconds, the song goes back on and then some organ-ish keyboards follow; now it almost feels progressive. I really wasn't expecting this and was like: "What the hell was that?". This song being the less typical and "At my Funeral" my first listen, I was expecting something more like it and that's another high point of Scorn Defeat; it's diverse. "The Knell" staring with some rather odd, almost joyful keyboards and then being really fast and thrashy at the beginning is at the total opposite of the overall pace of "A Victory of Dakini". Each song stands on its own and takes part of the whole that is Scorn Defeat.
And did I talk about the atmosphere? It is heavy, gloomy, bleak and sometimes eerie. It's quite unique, and like stated earlier, some doom influences are also noticeable. There are keyboards, flutes, acoustic guitars and some haunting vocals here and there to give that little oriental feeling the album has which fits perfectly the lyrics. The keyboards also have some more space, as an outro to "Ready for the Final War" or as the mainly instrumental "Gundali". Mirai clearly shows he is no amateur; he does some amazing and elaborated melodies in those sections. His vocals are also really good and somewhat original to black metal standards. Satoshi gives a good performance but it's nothing special compared to Sinichi's great riffing and creative soloing and Mirai's prowess. The lyrics seem to be about Japanese mythology or occultism and with the occasional Japanese words, they give Scorn Defeat another unique touch over traditional black metal.
So is Scorn Defeat really black metal? Yes and no, it definitely has the sound and was probably intended to be as any band from the second wave - they also wore corpsepaint on photos - but there is the evident Venom/thrash influence which they continued to bear after leaving their black metal sound behind. They were probably more acting as a Venom influenced band than a serious black metal band. And I can't resign myself to call Scorn Defeat that way as it is so much more than that; there's diverse influences - like I stated, mostly thrash and doom - it's refreshing to hear and it seems they tried to achieve a different feeling on each song rather than on the whole album where it seems each song is more of the same, instead it adds depth to the album. As I said, the album is diverse, there is plenty of direction and pace changes out there - sometimes really abrupt or spontaneous - so you won't be bored a second and will come back craving for more.
So if you're searching for some original and unique album among the endless seas of generic or uncreative bands, this is for you but if you're some black metal fan searching for more, this is still for you. It's a definite classic, a lost gem from the old days when black metal had just found its identity. And Scorn Defeat paved the path for Sigh; it showed the potential of the band - in the sense of what else they could achieve, SD is of course far from merely a potential showcase - that they could go far if they continued in their direction and look at them now; they still have their own sound while releasing completely different and original masterpieces, it's just the beginning of their legacy.