An album doesn’t need to be groundbreaking or innovative to make for a satisfying listen; it’s nice to hear music evolving, but it’s just as nice to kick back with a familiar sound. Sigil draws from traditional elements of groove metal and hardcore punk to make a breed of death metal that’s right at home with the existing scene, and focuses on perfecting the current sound instead of building a new one altogether. It’s tight and to the point; Kingdom of the Grave doesn’t need to establish atmosphere to kick ass.
Funny enough that I should say that; the track called “Kingdom of the Grave” is the only one with an intro attached. Regardless, that’s just another inclusion that makes the album feel alive. It’s cohesive, and although each song has a slightly different spin to it, Kingdom of the Grave still feels undeniably like a single entity. There’s a sense of uniformity within the mix, as well: the efforts of every member of Sigil seem to have been given equal attention, so if you should find yourself getting tired of the vocals, it’s easy to shift your focus to the guitar, or drumming, or the bass lines. Nothing is tucked away or poorly executed in terms of the production, which keeps things simple but also offers the listener a decent amount of freedom in how exactly they enjoy the album.
The music itself is clean and heavy, like a tombstone in heavy rain. But at the same time, that tombstone is now sitting in a layer of runny mud, which, in the case of Sigil, is their vocalist. The guitar lines all sound very smooth and melodic, and despite some obvious distortion, they come out sounding really nice. Lick the Blade was the standout track for me in terms of satisfying riffs, and that cymbal-heavy drumming certainly helped. But the vocals, similar in style to bands like Daath, then sneak in to add a roughness and a certain edge that the instruments can’t provide, and when blasting in harmony, the songs hold your attention and don’t let go. I’m not sure how a wet tombstone could hold your attention so I’m going to go ahead and drop that ridiculous analogy here, but the direct approach that this album takes should give you no opportunity to get bored, and ultimately leave you more than satisfied by the time “Summoning Hate” finishes up.
Kingdom of the Grave is now available on CD and digitally through Horror Pain Gore Death Productions.