Sigh (band)

Sigh (サイ, sai) is a Japanese experimental metal band from Tokyo, formed in 1989. They are credited as being one of the first Japanese black metal bands. They gradually shifted from a traditional extreme metal sound to a more experimental, avant-garde style employing symphonic, world music, and progressive elements.[2] Their most recent album, Heir to Despair, was released in 2018.

Sigh performing at Jaxx Nightclub in September 2008
Sigh performing at Jaxx Nightclub in September 2008
Background information
OriginTokyo, Japan
GenresBlack metal,[1] avant-garde metal[1]
Years active1989–present
LabelsDeathlike Silence, Cacophonous Records, Century Media, Candlelight, The End
MembersMirai Kawashima
Satoshi Fujinami
Junichi Harashima
Dr. Mikannibal
You Oshima
Past membersKazuki
Shinichi Ishikawa


Sigh was founded as a Nordic-influenced black metal band in 1989,[3][4] with bassist/vocalist/keyboardist Mirai Kawashima, guitarist Satoshi Fujinami, and drummer Kazuki. The band has since experienced many lineup changes, but Kawashima and Fujinami remain in the band to the present day and each has played many different instruments.[2]

The band's first demos were recorded in 1990.[5] Their first EP Requiem for the Fools attracted the attention of Norwegian black metal musician and producer Euronymous, who signed Sigh to his label Deathlike Silence Records.[2] That label released Sigh's first full-length album Scorn Defeat in 1993, shortly after Euronymous's murder. The album has since been praised for its revolutionary combination of black metal with symphonic elements.[6] Deathlike Silence Records then ceased to exist and Sigh signed with Cacophonous Records, which released their next three albums.[7] Those albums increasingly incorporated elements from classical and avant-garde music.[2] In 1995 Sigh contributed to a Venom tribute album.[5]

After disputes with Cacophonous over promotion and album rights, the band eventually found a new home at Century Media Records.[8] Their 2001 album with Century Media, Imaginary Sonicscape, was further praised for pioneering a new genre of surrealist black metal.[9] Sigh later released albums under Candlelight/Baphomet Records and The End Records. Their 2007 song "Inked in Blood" from the album Hangman's Hymn was named number 31 on Loudwire's list of the Top 21st Century Metal Songs.[10] The band is featured in the 2008 documentary Global Metal.[11] By the end of that decade, the band's lineup solidified with the addition of drummer Junichi Harashima and saxophonist/backup singer Dr. Mikannibal (Mika Kawashima).[12] Second guitarist You Oshima (formerly of Kadenzza) joined in 2014.[13]

In the 2010s, Sigh's albums continued to experiment with various genre elements, and increasingly turned toward progressive metal.[14][15] Their eleventh full-length album, Heir to Despair, was released in 2018 and was noted for its incorporation of instruments and compositional styles from traditional Japanese music.[16][17] Band leader Mirai Kawashima learned to play flute for this album,[4] and it also incorporates Middle Eastern and Central Asian sounds.[17]


  • Kazuki Ozeki (尾関和樹) – drums (1989)
  • Shinichi Ishikawa (石川慎一) – guitars (1992–2014)


The band's major releases follow an acrostic pattern of the word "SIGH" repeated: Scorn Defeat, Infidel Art, Ghastly Funeral Theatre, Hail Horror Hail, and so on.

Studio albums
  • Requiem for Fools (1992)
  • Ghastly Funeral Theatre (葬式劇場) (1997)
  • A Tribute to Venom (2008)
  • The Curse of Izanagi 7" (2010)
  • Desolation (1990)
  • Tragedies (1990)


  1. ^ a b "Sigh - discography, line-up, biography, interviews, photos". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  2. ^ a b c d York, William. "Sigh | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  3. ^ "THIS IS ARMAGEDDON! SIGH's Mirai Kawashima On Early Days Of Norwegian Black Metal: "Varg Was Always Boasting About Burning Down Churches And Told Me To Do The Same In Japan"". Metal Injection. 2018-12-18. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  4. ^ a b "The Sigh Of The Rising Sun". 2018-11-30. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  5. ^ a b "Cult Avant-Garde Black Metal from Japan : Interview with SIGH (ENGLISH)".
  6. ^ "Scorn Defeat - Sigh | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  7. ^ Lawson, Dom (11 November 2015). "The essential guide to Cacophonous Records". Metal Hammer Magazine. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  8. ^ "Sigh". Distrolution : Home of independent rock bands and labels. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  9. ^ "Imaginary Sonicscape - Sigh | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  10. ^ "No. 31: Sigh, 'Inked in Blood' – Top 21st Century Metal Songs". 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  11. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  12. ^ DiVita, Joe. "Sigh's Dr. Mikannibal – Supreme Rock Goddesses". Loudwire. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  13. ^ "Sigh - You Oshima To Guest On New Album". Metal Storm. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  14. ^ "Mirai Kawashima from Sigh". Echoes And Dust. 2019-01-13. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  15. ^ "Album Review: SIGH Heir to Despair". Metal Injection. 2018-11-21. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  16. ^ "Sigh Heir to Despair". Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  17. ^ a b "Sigh interview (01/2019)". Metal Storm. Retrieved 2020-04-14.

External linksEdit