SIGH Frontman: 'I Hate 99 Percent Of The People On This Earth'

Chris Harris of reports: Mirai Kawashima, the frontman for Japanese experimental black-metal band SIGH, is pissed. He's not mad that the band's U.S. dates with MAYHEM were canceled when MAYHEM drummer Hellhammer broke his hand, or that SIGH's U.S. headlining shows were nixed because they were improperly booked. And he's not even upset that SIGH's seventh studio album, "Hangman's Hymn" — one of the most innovative, unusual and brilliantly assembled extreme-metal discs this year — will be dwarfed in sales by some upcoming release by the next metalcore flavor of the month. No, Kawashima's rage has more to do with his generalized disgust for the values and beliefs of modern man.

"I hate 99 percent of the people on this earth," he said in a soft voice. "I hate weak people who have to cling to fairy tales like religion, and I hate greedy people that have nothing more than making money in their head. I just want all of them to die."

Well, that accounts for the rage on "Hangman's Hymn", but not the artistry. Since their first album, 1993's "Scorn Defeat", SIGH have incorporated jazz twists, psychedelic interludes and orchestral flourishes into their songs. "Hangman's Hymn", which was largely influenced by Wagner, Weber and Mozart, is less jarring, but it's even more creative. The tempos of songs like "Inked in Blood" and "Death With Dishonor" are still fast enough to trip up a NASCAR champion, but the way they're constructed — by incorporating violins, cellos, horns, bells, keyboard and choirs — is more akin to classical opera than high-rise demolition.

"Good opera is so emotional and powerful," Kawashima said. "And that's what I was inspired by. A lot of black-metal bands use keyboards and strings for embellishments. But the keyboard parts and orchestration on 'Hangman's Hymn' are not embellishments. They are as important to the songs as the guitars, bass and drums. So even though it's very metal, you can say it's pretty much classical music as well."

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