SIGH — Heir to Despair — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of

SIGH - Heir to Despair cover
3.89 | 6 ratings | 3 reviews
Buy this album from MMA partners

Album · 2018

Filed under Avant-garde Metal


1. Aletheia (7:23)
2. Homo Homini Lupus (5:33)
3. Hunters Not Horned (6:47)
4. In Memories Delusional (6:17)
5. Heresy I: Oblivium (7:28)
6. Heresy II: Acosmism (1:45)
7. Heresy III: Sub Species Aeternitatis (2:26)
8. Hands of the String Puller (4:48)
9. Heir to Despair (10:15)

Total Time 52:42


- Mirai Kawashima / Vocals, Keyboards, Taishōgoto, Flute, Piccolo
- Satoshi Fujinami / Bass
- Junichi Harashima / Drums
- Dr. Mikannibal / Vocals, Saxophone (alto)
- You Oshima / Guitars

Guest/session musicians:
- Phil Anselmo / Vocals (additional) (track 2)
- Kevin Kmetz / Shamisen

About this release

Released on November 16th, 2018, by Spinefarm Records U.K.

Thanks to Sisslith for the addition and adg211288 for the updates


Amazon (logo)
Heir To DespairHeir To Despair
Spinefarm 2018
$9.74 (used)
Showing 1 items | Cache expiring in 7h | Keyword-based search | Best seller rank | More results on

More places to buy metal & SIGH music


Specialists/collaborators reviews

Though I’ve lived in Japan for nearly 20 years, I don’t know many Japanese metal bands, and until recently, I didn’t know Sigh either. Then within the space of about a week, not only was Sigh mentioned in two metal album discussion videos I watched on YouTube, but their album “Heir to Despair” showed up in a recommended albums message from Amazon. Being a sucker for album art, I ordered the album right after checking out whose album cover this painting graced. Then I made a quick visit to YouTube to make sure I hadn’t ordered something that would leave me dubiously scratching my chin.

The artwork really intrigued me. It has a very 1950’s/60’s, Showa” Japanese look to it. The woman is smiling as beautifully as though she were a star actress posing for a movie poster. And yet the plant she waters has withered and the room behind her looks not only austere but items on the floor and torn images on the walls suggest that someone had a serious freak out session in there. Word is the image and the album are about insanity? (The Japanese text translates directly to “Inheritor of despair”, by the way)

I had no idea about what music to expect except for that it would be metal. That Sigh cover black metal, avant-garde metal, progressive metal and more was unknown to me; however, before the album was over I could have guessed most of that myself. The music is speedy, melodic, symphonic at times, suggestive of power metal in a spot or two, and holds a fudge ton of progressive and odd bits to make sure that the album never becomes repetitive. One thing I’m very glad to hear is the variety of additional instruments, particularly traditional instruments like koto and shamisen, but also a good variety of other sounds and affects. Flute also figures in prominently in some tracks. The “Heresy” trilogy is the most exceptional moment on the album with distorted vocoder vocals, electronic effects, sounds and voices, and a liberal amount of creative editing used to great effect.

Actually, the whole album very masterfully weaves together such an eclectic melange of metal styles so that crunchy guitars yield to Eastern music for a space, flute delightfully plays along to distortion-enriched power chords, symphonic elements add the extra “umph” to some parts, accordion lends a folk feeling, and traditional Japanese instruments expand the soundscape further. As another reviewer stated, one never can be sure of where the next track will go or what will follow.

I’m not especially a fan of Japanese vocals in any popular music genre because I find them usually too similar in a predictable way. But here, the vocal styles and sounds I would expect from a Japanese metal band don’t remain stuck in a trench. They are principally black metal croaks but joined at times by growls. There are also chanted vocals and rapid fire, staccato utterances. Most of the lyrics are in Japanese for which I’m grateful as I sometimes cringe the way some vocalists struggle with English phonetics. (To give an example from another band, “I cross my heart / I cross my eyes” when “cross” was supposed to be “close”). Yet, to give praise where it’s due, none of the English on “Heir to Despair” has stood out for being poorly pronounced to my ears. Then again, I’ve mostly been enjoying the sounds of the music and vocals and haven’t concentrated on the lyrics.

Having never heard any other Sigh albums, I have nothing to compare this to. But I’m very impressed with the package presented here. I love an album of creative and diverse musical approaches, and the recording quality captures all the band’s efforts really well. It’s a delight to listen to this album!
Kev Rowland
Sigh have been one of the most interesting Japanese bands for some time now, and here with their eleventh album they have taken another musical turn in their journey which may surprise some and will delight many. It is an album about insanity, and at first glance at the artwork that doesn’t make sense as surely the woman watering her flowers is smiling? Find a nice big version of the image and you will realise the plants are dying, it not already dead, and the room behind her is in chaos. Japanese band Sigh will release their eleventh studio album Heir to Despair on November 16 via Candlelight Records. The album is mostly sung in Japanese, which is very unusual for the band, while Mirai Kawashima used some Japanese traditional singing techniques and Kevin Kmetz, formerly of Estradasphere and master of the traditional Japanese instrument, the shamisen, is featured on several tracks. This definitely gives the band a very traditional feel.

While their last album, ‘Graveward’, contained some symphonic and orchestral elements, this has one has been inspired by progressive bands and contains plenty of vintage keyboards and flute as well as the riffing guitars we would normally expect. The band state they been paying attention to the likes Brainticket, Embryo, Agitation Free, Between, Gentle Giant, Os Mutantes, Modulo 1000 and Black Widow, which isn’t a list one can imagine ever seeing from a Japanese metal act. I love the sheer diversity of this album, one never knows what is coming next, either from the next song or even the next few bars of the song which is being played. One might imagine it to be incredibly challenging, but in fact it is actually a really easy album to listen to. I enjoyed it the first time I played it, and each time since then has allowed me to discover something else.

Sigh continue to move, change, and challenge both themselves and their fans, and this is an incredibly strong result on every level.

Mirai Kawashima's come over a little Ian Anderson. Not to a full Jethro Tull-ish extent, mind - but there's an outbreak of flute and piccolo on this Sigh album that's just as interesting an addition to their sound as when Dr Mikannibal first brought her saxophone onboard. For a good long while, the sound of Sigh has been guided in part by the particular direction that Mirai's wanted to take his multi-instrumentalist experimentation in; just look at the credits for this and their past few albums and you'll see how much he's changed his portfolio from release to release. So the addition of flute this time around may sound like a small thing, but as an extra ingredient in Sigh's bizarre mashup of classic metal and black metal and progressive rock, it ends up being an interesting through-line which ties the album together.

Members reviews

No SIGH HEIR TO DESPAIR reviews posted by members yet.

Ratings only

  • Diricul
  • Bosh66
  • Sisslith

Write/edit review

You must be logged in to write or edit review

Heir to Despair Contents

Member Zone

Stay signed in

Metal Subgenres

Artists Alpha-index


Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
Buy this album from our partners
Rust in Peace Thrash Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
Buy this album from our partners
Are You Experienced? Proto-Metal
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

Relapse Sampler 2019 Death Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
Blackwater Metalcore
Buy this album from MMA partners
The Accuser / The Adversary Deathcore
Buy this album from MMA partners
Fortress / Haunt Heavy Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

Bosh66· 2 days ago
Train_Food· 6 days ago
Earth and Pillars - Tides (2014)
Train_Food· 6 days ago
More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions


Latest Metal News


More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us

Buy Metal Music Online