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Every Sigh Album Ranked Worst to Best

Imagine if The Muppets made a metal band. And not like the type of “metal” that your brother-in-law likes. Good metal. METAL metal. And when we say “The Muppets,” we’re not talking about the cute ones that teach you about spelling. We’re talking about the monsters, who might be cute, but are also super scary. And also teach you about spelling. You know: Sweetums. Gorgon Heap. Thudge McGerk. Scary-ass Muppets. In a metal band. Are you imagining that band? Great. That’s Sigh. And if you think that’s anything less than the highest compliment we can give at Hard Times, you need to take a step back and think about what site you’re on. Sigh is a Japanese band that at times would’ve been considered Black Metal, but in the end really are so much more. Dipping their toes in everything from Power Metal, to Prog, to Jazz, to genuinely whatever the fuck they feel like, this is a band that demands your attention. With production that keeps you guessing as much as the actual songs do, this band has been putting out banger after banger for over 30 years. And believe us when we say: when you listen to Sigh, you may not like it, but you sure as shit won’t be bored.

12. Scorn Defeat (1993)

Sigh’s first full-length is neither garbage nor killer. It’s fine. It has glimpses of some of the energy that would make the band so much fun and the following decades. But it never really blows your butt off. That said it’s still waaaaay more interesting than 90% of similar music that came out around that time. Leaning heavily into black metal production, it’s a solid listen, but definitely not what you wanna start with. But it’s the pacing of the album that really works. Right when things feel like they’re dragging just a bit, the mid-album dungeon-synthy “Gundali” pulls you right back in.

Play it again: “Gundali,” “The Knell,” and “A Victory of Dakini”
Skip it: “Taste Defeat” is a fine song, but if you’re gonna end an album with an 8-minute track, it’s gotta keep our attention more than this

11. Heir to Despair (2018)

For a band that never plays it safe, this album feels about as close to playing it safe as they get. And that’s not to say this album doesn’t get weird. But for a band that lives in the weird, this album is just a little middle of the road. But when you’re a killer metal band, the middle of the road is still better than most everyone else. For instance, the flute playing along with the riff in the middle of “Hunters Not Horned” still absolutely wrecks. And certainly, they try to get out there with 3 electronic “Heresy” tracks. But While the album is an enjoyable listen, we can’t help but wish we were listening to their stronger efforts.

Play it again: “Homo Homini Lupus”
Skip it: honestly “Alethia” might be Sigh’s only miss as an opener. It’s not bad, but “Homo Homini Lupus” is right after and we find ourselves skipping right to it.

10. Infidel Art (1995)

There’s an epic quality to “Infidel Art” that really pushes past the lower albums on this list. If we’re being honest, this is one of the only Sigh albums that doesn’t make us laugh. And that’s not bad either way. But the feel of the album is somehow more serious. It’s still very much Sigh, but it almost feels like they were asked to make an album to accompany an epic film. So instead of leaning into wackiness, they lean into making every track just super epic. The opener “Izuna” has an almost rock-opera feel, and at 8:16 it practically is. The highlight of the album is “The Zombie Terror” a track that clocks in at 9:42. And almost every one of the 6 tracks on this 50-minute album is long. But it adds to the epic feel of the whole thing.

Play it again: “The Zombie Terror”
Skip it: At only 4:45, “Suicidogenic” didn’t get the memo that this album is all epically long tracks. Read your fucking email, “Suicidogenic”!

9. Hail Horror Hail (1997)

Much of this album is straightforward forward ‘90s epic blackish/fantasy metal, which means no complaints from us. But honestly, there is one reason this album beats out the three previously listed: “Invitation to Die.” This song is perfect. It’s like a grim beatnik Muppet song on a Zelda soundtrack. Seriously. The vocals are bordering rapping at a few points. And then there’s a baby crying. I don’t even know what else to say.

Play it again: “Invitation to Die”
Skip it: I mean, the other songs are fine, but this album could’ve just been “Invitation to Die” nine times in a row.

8. Scenario IV: Dread Dreams (1999)

While it’s hard to believe Sigh was doing what they were doing in the ‘90s, this album in particular kinda blows our minds. At 25 years old this year, Sigh could release this album and it would still feel as fresh. With an opener that includes horns and handclaps (and I think Tamborine?) “Scenario IV: Dread Dreams” is the bands first real dabble in the weird. While their previous records had experimental stuff, this one has the feeling of the band trying some stuff they’ve always wanted to try. And while they never quite let loose on this album to the extent they do on their acclaimed follow-up “Imaginary Sonicsscape,” you can see why people really started paying attention with this album. Sometimes it’s easy to look at where a band ends up and then look at the older stuff and think “meh.” But in the context of this band, this album is immensely pivotal. In other words, “Scenario IV: Dread Dreams” walked to so “Imaginary Sonicsscape” could run.

Play it again: “Diabolic Suicide” and “Severed Ways”
Skip it: “Black Curse” has some awesome parts but is waaaay too long and “Waltz Dread Dreams” is filler

7. Gallows Gallery (2005)

Sometimes referred to as Sigh’s “power metal” album, this album contains primarily clean vocals. This bothers people who are shitheads. Everyone else can see this album rules. Because with Sigh, clean vocals aren’t clean vocals. This album still doesn’t sound like any other band. And because of the clean vocals, it doesn’t sound like any other Sigh album. And believe me, when you’re listening to all their albums for, oh I don’t know off the top of my head, a ranking list for Hard Times, Sigh changing things up is genuinely exciting. This album is also noted for Century Media refusing to release it due to Sigh apparently using some sonic weaponry developed during WW2 in the recording. We’ve listened to the album many times, and other than our teeth falling out, hair turning around and growing back into our bodies, and night terrors that cause us to go hoarse, we think Century Media were just being babies about it.

Play it again: “In a Drowse,” “Gavotte Grim,” and “Pale Monument”
Skip it: “-“ and “The Tranquilizer Song (David Harrow mix)”

6. In Somophobia (2012)

The only really negative about “In Somophobia” is that it followed the superior “Scenes From Hell.” And so as is the case with the great albums that follow absolute classics, this one can kinda disappear from memory. But it shouldn’t because it’s an immensely fun album. The borderline doo-wop groove of “Amnesia” should be close to the top of Sigh’s list of things that shouldn’t work, but just do. This is actually a decent album to start with if you’ve never listened to Sigh before. It’s weird, it’s fun, but there is plenty of straightforward metal if you’re too much a baby. And the weird cover art is also a plus.

Play it again: “Amnesia” and “L’excommunication A Minuit”
Skip it: “Opening Theme: Lucid Nightmare” and “Ending Theme: Continuum” are just interludes and as the saying goes: “if your album has interludes, I will not listen to those interludes.”

5. Hangman’s Hymn (2007)

This is a favorite for many and it totally makes sense. The opening track busts in with a thrashy section with horns and then kicks into a half-time, borderline nu-metal slam part. The track then transitions to rain sounds and a “Midian”-era Cradle of Filth theatrics.The band is once again letting us know that they will melt our faces off with their metal, and they will do it however they damn well please. Putting down some of the jazzier elements of other albums, the band seems to fully embrace classical music and dare I say musical theater as an inspiration. And while that’s not anything new in metal, with Sigh they do it their own way.

Play it again: “Introitus/Kyrie,” “Me-Devil,” and “Hangman’s Hymn/ In Paradisum Das Ende”
Skip it: “Death With Dishonor” is a fine song, but compared to the rest of the album its pretty middle of the road.

4. Graveward (2015)

Something that stands out about “Graveward” is the production. Among Sigh’s more recent albums, they seem to have leaned towards slightly more traditional production. This worked for some (“Shiki” and “In Somophobia”) and not so much for others (“Heir to Despair”). But for whatever reason, on “Graveward” the band decided to return to their signature “what the fuck is going on” production. And it does not disappoint. If we didn’t think Sigh were geniuses, it’d almost seem like the levels were picked at random. But there ain’t shit random about Sigh. Or maybe it is random? Whatever. We don’t care. Also, not every song has bizarre production. But even the songs that seem to be relatively tame (for Sigh) all of a sudden have a guitar solo bust in at levels that the asshole guitar player in your band would kill to have. Maybe don’t play this album for them. This one is just for us.

Play it again: “The Tombfiller” and “Molesters of My Soul”
Skip it: “A Message From Tomorrow” isn’t bad but just kinda drags at that point in the album

3. Shiki (2022)

“Shiki” is, as of this writing, Sigh’s most recent effort. Much like the record preceding this one (“Heir to Despair”) the outright weirdness seems to be turned out just a smidge. And yet, unlike the previous album, it seems like here it’s been turned down to show that Sigh is, in fact, fucking metal. Just… just so metal. Ignoring a 15-second opening track of a chant (which honestly should’ve just been attached to track 2) the real opener is “Kuroi Kage.” We are not lying to you when we say that the riff in this song is the dirtiest, deepest, lip-snarling riff that Sigh has ever written. It’s just stanky. And then the vocals just add to the evil Muppet idea. This might be the most re-listenable Sigh song of all time. Later in the song, it has a chill, dark sax moment that just fits so well, it makes me think Sigh should be president. Thankfully the album doesn’t drop off with quality after this track. One noticeable difference with the album is the production. Instead of leaning into weird production choices, the band seemed to say “what if instead of being weird, we just showed everyone that we’re one of the best metal bands doing it, and have been since the ‘90s?” Everything thumps. This shit is as loud, heavy and varied as a Chipotle dump.

Play it again: “Kuroi Kage” over and over.
Skip it: “Touji No Asa” is a boring way to end an otherwise ass-slap of an album.

2. Imaginary Sonicscape (2001)

This is the album that made the metal world pay attention to Sigh. For a lot of folks this is number one and it makes sense why. The opening riff of “Corpsecry -Angelfall” starts off in a pumping, if typical fashion. But then just for a few measures ‘80s keys kick in and gives you the first glimpse that this is not your father’s metal band. Probably because your father’s metal band is the Doobie Brothers. But if your dad actually does like the Doobies, he honestly might be into some of the borderline nostalgic feels on this album, like “A Sunset Song.” Then there’s the head-bangy, synthy opening to “Scarlet Dream” which immediately pulls you in and asks “What if the theme for every cartoon from the ‘80s kicked ass even more?” Then “Nietzschean Conspiracy” just does a full 180 on us, and asks “What if Bohren & der Club of Gore made a song entirely on a Casio?” What we’re saying is that this album asks and then answers a lot of questions. While at times not as heavy as other releases, Imaginary Sonicscape is a true classic and there’s just nothing like it. Literally nothing. Lots of people compare Sigh to Mr Bungle, and while Bungle is influential, there’s just no comparison, and this album is the perfect example of why. While Bungle sometimes feels like they’re being weird for weird sake, Sigh feels like they are just doing what they do. Nothing is put on. Nothing is forced. They are making the music they want. It just happens to be really fucking weird.

Play it again: “A Sunset Song,” “Corpsecry -Angelfall,” and “Nietzschean Conspiracy”
Skip it: honestly, no skips

1. Scenes from Hell (2010)

Everyone thinks “The Muppets Take Manhattan” is the best classic Muppet movie. But they’re wrong. It’s “The Great Muppet Caper.” Everyone thinks “Imaginary Sonicscape” is the best Sigh album. But they’re wrong. Because just like “The Great Muppet Caper,” “Scenes from Hell” takes everything you like about the Muppets/Sigh and turns it to 11. To us, this album is the pinnacle of everything Sigh is trying to do in music. It’s weird. It’s scary. But it’s also an absolute destroyer of a metal album. If you want a real experience, put on headphones and just listen to this fucking album. But you won’t. And that’s the difference between us, and I can’t take it anymore. This relationship just isn’t working out, and I think we should see other people.

Play it again: “The Summer Funeral,” “Prelude to an Oracle,” and “The Soul Grave”
Skip it: How dare you.