19/06/12 || Sokaris
For most bands of this era a demo tape was a stepping stone, a means for a group of musicians to find their own identity and, in special cases, craft a sound that would become classic and appeal to a larger audience. Sigh issued their second demo “Tragedies” a few months after the debut offering “Desolation” and showcased some slight refinements and pushed forward with another baby step towards greatness. The demo was later re-released by cult as all hell label Wild Rags, who’d at this point already made a name for themselves by releasing early material for Necrophagia, Order from Chaos, Hellwitch, Sadistic Intent, Impetigo, Vital Remains, Blasphemy and many others.
The production is still murky and primitive (as to be expected) at this point in Sigh’s development but we get a fuller guitar sound, less problems with the vocal recording/performance and the keyboards sound less jarring in the mix, blending in rather than sitting on top. We’re still a long way away from a fitting production job for the material presented but this release is a lot more listenable. It still sounds extremely muffled and lo-fi and possibly a bit too bass-heavy, but the essential elements are captured, even if in a rudimentary form.
“Death throes” kicks things off with a frantic piano set to a thrash background. It quickly descends into a more slow-paced section with eerie sci-fi keys before putting the foot on the accelerator and bringing the piano back. The rest of the song is mostly dedicated towards a crawling riff section. The band’s namesake song “Sigh” follows, showing off a slight punk influence, especially when it speeds up. Mirai lets out an especially ridiculous scream less than a minute into this number. The end of the song is especially strange, the guitar, bass and drums blasting alongside some melodic classically inspired piano while the vocals struggle to keep up. The rest of the demo features tracks re-recorded from the “Desolation” sessions, “Weakness within” appearing exclusively on the Wild Rags edition. Kicking off the trio of re-recordings, “Mentally numb” features better vocals and the band add even more emphasis on the groove in the ending. The first demo’s title track is reborn as “Desolation of my mind” although its makeover isn’t drastic, featuring an extension of the ending keyboard melody into a fadeout. “Weakness within” most notably trades in the flute flourish for a more subtle synth patch and like the other “Desolation” revisits benefits from a much stronger voice to drive it. The re-recording is just a touch slowed down but doesn’t make a huge difference in its overall impact.
Once again this isn’t somewhere to point new Sigh fans but if you love the early material and can handle demo level recordings it’s worth checking out over “Desolation” especially considering it features all of the same material. “Tragedies” was re-released on the 2010 vinyl reissue of “Ghastly funeral theatre” with all five songs from the Wild Rags edition. A rough mix of the original four songs from the demo is featured on both the 3LP and 2CD versions of “Scorn defeat” but the tracklisting is inaccurate on both, most annoyingly splitting “Desolation” in two sections and placing it in amidst other songs.
- Released: 1990/1991
- Label: Self-released/Wild Rags
- Website: Sigh MySpace
- Mirai Kawashima: vocals, bass, keyboards
- Satoshi Fujinami: guitars, drums, vocals
- 01. Death throes
- 02. Sigh
- 03. Mentally numb
- 04. Desolation of my mind
- 05. Weakness within (Wild Rags bonus track)