Shiki marks the latest chapter in the Sigh legacy, and includes some of the band’s heaviest and darkest material for some years; a fine hybrid of at times primitive black metal akin to early influences such as Celtic Frost amid more epic melodic heavy metal riffing and solos. The album also utilises a whole host of instruments to give further texture and dynamics to the compositions and eerie atmosphere, incorporating traditional oriental instruments such as the Shakuhachi & Sinobue flutes.
The word “Shiki” itself has various meanings in Japanese such as four seasons, time to die, conducting an orchestra, ceremony, motivation, colour. The two primary themes for the album are “four seasons” and “time to die”.
The concept and artwork is based around a traditional Japanese poem, and on ‘Shiki’ Mirai explores how at this stage of life he himself is going through Autumn, with Winter coming soon, and so empathises with the contrasting sentimental feelings from watching cherry blossoms (a symbol of spring) in full bloom.
“The song is kind of a culmination of what Sigh have been up to. Whistle scream, throat singing, Uriah Heep like vocal harmonies, vocoder, flute solo, shakuhachi solo, Hammond solo and the great guitar solo by Fred – it’s got everything! Although it’s only 5-minute long, it’s a very dramatic song with many aspects. The title stands for ‘a strange incident at midnight’, and it’s based on actual weird experience I had .. Long story short, I experienced midnight twice in one night! You can read the details at the end of the video. We have been working with Costin for a long time, so we were 100% sure that he’d be the best guy to visualize my eerie experience, and how did it turn out? You all see for yourselves!” says Mirai Kawashima.