Interview: Sigh’s lucid nightmares inform eclectic, metallic In Somniphobia

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sigh_in_somniphobiaSigh: In Somniphobia (Candlelight, 3/13/12)

“The Transfiguration Fear Lucid Nightmares”

Sigh: “The Transfiguration Fear Lucid Nightmares”

Formed in Tokyo in 1990, Sigh isn’t like most extreme metal bands. To the uninitiated: imagine a mad scientist who has left traditional morality behind in his quest for discovery. Imagine Mr. Bungle, doubled down on metal brutality. Imagine John Zorn as a founding member of Iron Maiden. Imagine that someone left Scandinavian-style metal out on the counter overnight and that strange, hypnotic, polychromatic molds have started to grow on it. You still haven’t quite imagined the unique strangeness of Sigh, but you’re getting there.

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ALARM’s 50 (+5) Favorite Songs of 2012

Last month ALARM presented its 50 favorite albums of 2012, an eclectic, rock-heavy selection of discs that were in steady rotation in our downtown-Chicago premises. Now, to give some love to tunes that were left out but that hold major water on their own, we have our 50 (+5) favorite songs of last year — singles, B-sides, EP standouts, soundtrack cuts, and more.

(Text by the ALARM crew. Presented in chronological order.)

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ALARM’s 50 Favorite Albums of 2012

Another year, another torrential downpour of albums across our desks. (Not literally — our insurance doesn’t cover that.)

As always, we encountered way too much amazing music. How does anyone keep track of it all? It’s good that we have this magazine, because our mushy brains can’t keep up…

(Text by the ALARM crew. Albums are in chronological order.)

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Video: Sigh’s “Far Beneath the In-Between”

In advance of its ninth studio album, In Somniphobia (Candlelight, 3/13/12), Japanese prog/black-metal outfit Sigh has premiered a video for the album’s seventh track, “Far Beneath the In-Between.” Like much of the album, the song features a wide array of musical traditions: everything from black metal to carnival-esque jazz to classical Indian music can be heard in just six minutes and change.

Vocalist/keyboardist Mirai Kawashima‘s advice for listening to the album? “Be sure to smoke first, then listen to this with headphones. Bad trip guaranteed.” You can test this theory with the video below.

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100 Unheralded Albums from 2010

Among the thousands of under-appreciated or under-publicized albums that were released in 2010, hundreds became our favorites and were presented in ALARM and on AlarmPress.com.  Of those, we pared down to 100 outstanding releases — from the progressive-industrial madness of Norway’s Shining to the folk-hop rhymes of Sage Francis to the orchestral Italian oldies of Mike Patton‘s Mondo Cane project.

As usual, ALARM leaves no genre unexplored in our list of this year’s overlooked gems.

Presented in chronological order.

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Morrow vs. Hajduch: Bongripper’s Satan Worshipping Doom

Scott Morrow is ALARM’s music editor. Patrick Hajduch is a very important lawyer. Each week they debate the merits of a different album.

Bongripper: Satan Worshipping DoomBongripper: Satan Worshipping Doom 2xLP (August 13, 2010)

Bongripper: “Hail”
[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Bongripper-Satan-Worshipping-Doom-01-Hail.mp3|titles=Bongripper: “Satan Worshipping Doom”]

Morrow: Chicago’s Bongripper makes the type of music that you might glean from its name — bleak, crushing doom metal that’s built on stoner riffs and down-tuned guitars.  I will preface this by saying that I’m not a huge fan of the genre, but the band already has two strikes in my book for the lame pot-related name and the (presumably tongue-in-cheek) Satanism.

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