The forces of evil from the Sigh East have conquered the Underdogs’ with their magic


Japanese bands come to the Czech Republic like saffron, and when a cult comes along, which today belongs to the classics of the genre, it’s a holiday – and full barracks. Sigh, three decades exploring the nooks and crannies of avant-garde forms of metal, should fulfill the above. Cult, yes, classics too. With that full house it was worse.

Live: Sigh

Support: Laster
place: Underdogs’, Prague
date: November 9, 2023

set list: Kuroi Kage, The Transfiguration Fear, Hail Horror Hail, Shikigami, Shingontachikawa, Mayonaka No Kaii, Satsui – Geshi no Ato, Gundali, A Victory of Dakini, Corpsecry – Angelfall, The Soul Grave, Introitus/Kyrie, Me-Devil, Encore: Black Metal (Venom cover)


© Tom Jajo Rozkovec /

Hard music has never had it as easy in the land of the rising sun as it has in the West – and few bands actually manage to break through outside of Japan. If we leave aside the mainstream pasquil Babymetal, possibly the very trying and Rock For People playing Crossfaith, we are moving in the level of underground fun and oddities, which in principle have no chance of greater impact. An even bigger cult then floats around them: noiserockers Melt-Banana, unclassifiable Boris, excellent doom metallers Church of Misery, nerve-racking Vampilia. And also Sigh, who paved the way for everyone else, thanks to the key when their debut was picked up by the Deathlike Silence label of none other than Euronym from Norway’s Mayhem.

© Tom Jajo Rozkovec /

But they themselves came to the Czech Republic for the first time last year at the Brutal Assault festival and had to wait another year or so for the Prague premiere. And as it turned out, even though it is a cult and an unmissable name in black metal or avant-garde metal, the barely half-full Smích club Underdogs’ was expecting them. And it was a great concert. But in order. Laster from Belgium opened the evening. Even in the art of cooking, even if you have good ingredients, it does not ensure delicacy. In their music, which basically works well on the records, black metal is combined with krautrock, shoegaze and a progressive approach to things. However, although the musicians tried to hide in masks, it was impossible, the desired effect did not and did not appear. In partial moments, the successful set somewhat lacked some greater thrust and connection of individual elements into a continuous whole. It was a different story with the Sighs themselves. The group, formed in 1989 in Tokyo, was able to break away from the initially classically extreme metal beginnings. In addition to the proto-black metal core, she was able to absorb elements of occult rock, prog, musical avant-garde and folk music and create, with a typically Japanese, harrowing and inscrutable approach to things, something absolutely original.

Sigh, Underdogs', Prague, 9 November 2023
© Tom Jajo Rozkovec /

And he certainly doesn’t intend to just build on his cult status. Three pieces were played from last year’s successful record “Shiki”, and quite a lot was played from albums released after the turn of the millennium. Of course, “A Victory of Dakini” and “Gundali” from the classic “Scorn Defeat”, or frightened the cover of Venom’s “Black Metal” anthem resonated a bit more with the small but all the more educated audience. Sigh arrived in only three – the expressive face of Dr. Mikannbal is currently not active in the group. And it’s a bit of a shame, the dialogue between her and founding father By Mirai Kawashima, the refreshing element of free jazz saxophone rage is also missing. And no matter how much the androgynous samurai with guitar Nazomu Wakai (by the way, he also has his attention-worthy power metal band Destinia, in which I play Marco Mendoza on bass and Ronnie Romero sings) tried to sing, it wasn’t quite the same. His strength lies in his guitar skills and demonic appearance – and when it came to the flaming katana, the impression was flawless.

Sigh, Underdogs', Prague, 9 November 2023
© Tom Jajo Rozkovec /

The trio of musicians (in order to make the line-up complete, it is necessary to mention the masked drummer Juniči Harashi, who has been with the band for almost twenty years) did not let the weaker attendance put them to shame. In that hour and a half, she played a concert that had a certain exotic magic about it. The consciousness of the cult does its thing, mixed with a clear charisma and oriental otherness they form a great and original mix, which is definitely not just for effect. The costumes and visual elements working with Japanese mythology were just the topping, the music was the main thing here. Arigató gozaimasu.

The article is in Czech


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