Sigh's Mirai Kawashima Picks 5 Most Influential Japanese Metal Bands | Revolver

Sigh's Mirai Kawashima Picks 5 Most Influential Japanese Metal Bands

Black-metal bandleader weighs in on his country's heaviest exports
sigh-mirai-2-courtesyband-web-crop.jpeg, Sigh
Courtesy of Sigh

Revolver has teamed with Sigh for an exclusive "neon green with white splatter" vinyl variant of their 2001 album Imaginary Sonicscape. It's limited to 200 — get yours before they're gone!

Since Sigh dropped their debut 1993 album, Scorn Defeat, the Japanese metal crew has been tirelessly expanding the boundaries of their black-metal sound. In 2001 they hit a high-water mark with the release of Imaginary Sonicscape — their far-out fifth album that incorporated a wide range of experimental elements into their extreme metal: from dub, reggae and Japanese folk to jazz fusion, giggling babies and beyond.

Sigh's continued willingness to evolve has inspired many bands and fans across the world. On the eve of Imaginary Sonicscape's 20th birthday, we caught up with bandleader Mirai Kawashima to chat about some of his greatest inspirations, including the key non-metal albums he was listening to when Sigh was making Imaginary Sonicscape.

Kawashima also weighed in with his picks for what he considers to be five of the most influential and pioneering heavy bands from Japan. Read the stories behind his choices below.

Abigail

Abigail was the only band who we were able to share our love for Eighties thrash metal with when we both started the bands in the early Nineties. We played together many times, and Yasuyuki [Suzuki] played bass for us several times when Satoshi [Fujinami] could not join the tours. Yasuyuki is truly loved by heavy-metal fans from all over the world.

Sabbat

[Vocalist/bassist] Gezol is, like Yasuyuki, the guy loved by all the heavy-metal warriors. He knows a lot about heavy metal and Sabbat have been going their own way, which I do appreciate. A true pioneer of Japanese extreme metal.

Boris

They sold a lot of albums while making really original and creative music, which is not something you can easily achieve! And their stage [presence] is extremely intense. I do respect them and their attitude.

Loudness

I don't think any explanation is required for Loudness. Akira Takasaki is obviously one of the best guitarists in the world, and everyone knows that! They made it in the Eighties when heavy metal belonged to the mainstream.

Coffins

Coffins is one of the Japanese bands which fans from overseas always talk about. They create their music without caring about what is trendy or not. They're the real deal.