Pantera legend Philip Anselmo has very particular tastes when it comes to underground music. So, when he heard Japanese avant-garde experimentalists Sigh were working on their eleventh album, not only did he give them props, he lent them his voice.

The first single from Heir to Despair, which comes out Nov. 16, is "Homo Homini Lupus." The five-and-a-half-minute song starts with a triumphant guitar line reminiscent of Iron Maiden before evolving into a progressive thrash number, replete with carnivalesque hooks, dueling leads, a crushing mid-section and Anselmo's unmistakable growl.

Sigh frontman Mirai Kawshima first met Anselmo 20 years ago when they were both playing in the gore/death metal band Necrophagia. "It is a great honor for us to finally have him on our album," Kawashima says. "He added a great atmosphere to the song with his very deep voices! It should be very easy for you to tell which parts were sung by Phil."

While "Homo Homini Lupus" should appeal equally to fans of Pantera and System of a Down, the track isn't exactly representative of the rest of Heir to Despair. "'Homo Homini Lupus' is one of the fastest and the simplest tracks on Heir To Despair," Kawashima adds. "Don't expect other songs to sound like this."

Thematically, "Homo Homini Lupus" references both 17th Century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes and the apocalyptic zombie TV series The Walking Dead. "'Homo Homini Lupus' means 'man is wolf to man' in Latin," Kawashima says. "Thomas Hobbes referred to this verb to describe how men would act in the state of nature before we were civilized. The world shown in The Walking Dead series should be the best example of what we truly are. Men become wolves, or should I say men are wolves in their real nature. Look what our ancestors did during the wartime! Look what our ancestors did during famine! We have own wolves inside."

Over the years, Sigh have derived inspiration from orchestral music, opera, black metal, jazz, world music, prog, doom and classic rock. Heir To Despair promises to be less symphonic than the band's 2015 album Graveward and bears more in common with progressive and impulsive bands from various eras, including Hawkwind, Brainticket, John Zorn's Naked City, Embryo, Gentle Giant, Os Mutantes, Modulo 1000 and Black Widow. In addition to a myriad of styles, Sigh employed a variety of instrumentation, including alto saxophone, vintage keyboards, piccolo, Taishogoto and flute.

The lyrics depict the world through the eyes of the insane and each song illustrates mental illness in its own way. In addition, 90 percent of the vocals are in Japanese which adds to the sense of alienation for those foreign to the language. Past Sigh collaborator Eliran Kantor created the distinctive artwork for the album, which depicts a seemingly normal looking scene that's, in fact, surreal and twisted.

"I just suggested to Eliran that the album is about insanity and gave him some Japanese psychotropic drug advertisement from the '60s / '70s, which I love, to show him what kind of artwork I wanted," Kawashima explains. "The result was perfect. The woman on the artwork looks ostensibly happy but the plant she's watering is withering, and her room looks like a mess. This is what true insanity is about. This is what true horror is about. These days people are trying to pretend to be as happy as possible on SNS, but what kind of darkness do they have in their mind? You cannot draw the line between sanity and insanity anymore."

Sigh, Heir To Despair Track Listing:

01. Aletheia
02. Homo Homini Lupus
03. Hunters Not Horned
04. In Memories Delusional
Heresy Trilogy
05. Heresy I: Oblivium
06. Heresy II: Acosmism
07. Heresy III: Sub Specie Aeternitatis
08. Hands Of The String-Puller
09. Heir To Despair

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