On their 12th album, Japanese black-metal experimentalists Sigh contemplate mortality. With assistance from vocalist/saxophonist Dr. Mikannibal, bassist Satoshi Fujinami, Kreator guitarist Frédéric Leclerc, and Fear Factory drummer Mike Heller—plus an array of traditional Japanese instruments—Sigh mastermind Mirai Kawashima faces down death on Shiki. “This turned out to be a heavy, dark, and very Japanese album,” Kawashima tells Apple Music. “As I wanted to express my fear of getting old and my fear of death as honestly and straightforwardly as possible, I had to use my own language instead of English this time. I always wonder what the point of making extreme music is when you are 50, but I believe this is an album only 50-year-old me could make—and this could be an answer to my own question.” Below, he describes each song. “Kuroi Inori” “An album intro that consists of only my voices. The title stands for ‘Black Prayer,’ and my voices are prayers in a fear of death.” “Kuroi Kage” “The title stands for ‘Black Shadow,’ which definitely implies death. This is the first track I wrote for the album. At first, I was thinking of making something in the vein of Scorn Defeat, and I guess this slow and heavy track has its remnants.” “Shoujahitsumetsu” “The title means ‘All the Living Must Die’ or something like that, which reflects a very Japanese/Asian/Buddhist view on life. Yes, I know, but still—I do not want to die. This is the fastest and the most straightforward song on the album.” “Shikabane” “The title simply means ‘A Corpse,’ and again, this is about how I am afraid of death. This is another very straightforward song with a strong Celtic Frost or Bathory feel. You can hear a great percussion solo by Mike Heller.” “Satsui - Geshi No Ato” “This one is a combination of two totally separate songs—the former means ‘Intent to Kill’ and the latter ‘After the Summer Solstice.’ ‘Satsui’ shows my personal view on the death penalty and ‘Geshi No Ato’ implies a fear of getting old. ‘Satsui’ is probably the catchiest number on the album, while ‘Geshi…’ is pretty much experimental, which means, musically, these two songs are poles apart too.” “Fuyu Ga Kuru” “The title stands for ‘Winter Comes.’ Now I am 52, and if a life had four seasons, I’d be in late autumn and winter is coming soon. There’d be no spring after that. Probably the weirdest song on the album, with lots of jazzy saxophones and flute on it.” “Shouku” “The title means ‘You Suffer Because You Live,’ which is a very Buddhist way of thinking. The song has a bit of a strange structure, and the second half is based on the rhythm Mike Heller came up with. The ending has a feel of Italian horror movies from the ’80s.” “Kuroi Kagami” “The title stands for ‘Black Mirror.’ This is an excerpt from a track which we decided not to use. It turned out that this part was cool enough to be included, though!” “Mayonaka No Kaii” “Definitely my favorite song on the album. It’s got everything from a cool guitar solo by Frédéric Leclercq to Hammond solo, flute solo, shakuhachi solo, vocoder, whistle scream, throat singing, and more. So many scenes are layered in this only five-and-a-half-minute song. The title means ‘A Strange Incident at Midnight,’ and this is based on an eerie experience I had to go through. The details are at the end of the video and in the booklet of the album.” “Touji No Asa” “This is our album outro, and it’s kind of a reprise of ‘Kuroi Inori.’ It ends with a high whistle played with an instrument named iwabue, which is just a small stone with a hole. The sound of the instrument represents the salvation of your soul.”


Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada