Home > Music > Sigh – Gallows Gallery (2005)

Sigh – Gallows Gallery (2005)

folder_smallAfter going full on classic rock on Imaginary Sonicscape, Sigh was like “Let’s do that again!”, and thusly made Gallows Gallery, which is even more like old rock and metal than its predecessor. Huge synthesizers and actually sung vocals make for an experience that isn’t necessarily unlike the predecessor, but before this, Sigh tended to change the sound of their albums by diverging as opposed to evolving. After this, I can’t say. Despite this, it’s surprisingly not Sigh’s most accessible album due to its absolutely ridiculous production (which, before being remastered, was falsely marketed as using “Japanese World War II sonic warfare techniques” in its production). If that makes for an odd juxtaposition, then arguably this isn’t in need of a review, because it means Sigh has succeeded at their apparent mission.

On the other hand, it’s important to actually judge execution, so we continue onwards. This specific mixture of old styles with new aesthetics and distortion reminiscent of the whole “power metal” movement, so I feel justified in thinking of this as something of an extreme power metal album. I’ve mentioned how far Sigh strayed from their black/doom roots on multiple occasions, but I imagine it had to be blindingly obvious by the time this came out. It helps that Mirai Kawashima switches from harsh growls to clean (albeit heavily processed and harmonized) singing. It’s hard to judge his technique given the production, but he takes a lot of queues from the King Diamond school of vocals; often high pitched, sometimes full-on falsetto, and generally quite integral to the songwriting.

The sonic (*cough*) end of this album deserves some mention even without some of the claims attached to it. It’s loud. Gallows Gallery blasts for almost all its duration, and this can really shred your ears if you’re not careful. The original master was apparently worse in this regard – it was produced in a way that hid various layers of the music and otherwise made for an even harsher listening experience. Given the sheer quantity of instrumentation on this album, anything that makes things more intelligible is an improvement. On the other hand, this runs into similar problems as other extremely and consistently loud albums – besides the obvious ear fatigue, constant dynamics remove one of the most effective ways to distinguish tracks from each other, and given how much Sigh relies on the same basic musical language to construct songs here, that’s not a great thing.

It’s no wonder that I only really end up listening to this album when I’m in the mood for something especially rock oriented, and even then, this album has to compete with the more nuanced work on Imaginary Soundscape.

Highlights: “Pale Monument”, “Confession to Be Buried”, “Messiahplan”

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