Norwegian gothic metal band Sirenia were formed in 2001 by multi-instrumentalist Morten Veland following his departure from Tristania. Veland contributes the majority of the songwriting, together with guitars, bass, keyboards, programming, drums and vocals.
As with many gothic metal bands – often referred to as “beauty and the beast” bands – Sirenia utilise a combination of male vocals (harsh and clean) and female vocals.
Debut album “At Sixes And Sevens”, released in 2002, is the band’s only release to feature French session singer Fabienne Gondamin as the lead female vocalist. Henriette Bordvik from Norway took on the role of female vocalist for album number two “An Elixir For Existence” in 2004, but left the band for personal reasons the following year.
Danish singer Monika Pedersen joined the line-up in 2006 and was featured on the next album, 2007’s “Nine Destinies And A Downfall”. Pedersen departed the band in 2007 resulting in the band having to cancel a planned European tour with Swedish symphonic metal group Therion.
2009 saw the release of album number four “The 13th Floor” with female vocalist number four on board following the recruitment of Spanish singer Ailyn, a former contestant on Spain’s version of the television programme “The X Factor”.
Ailyn, one of the more striking female vocalists within this area of music, remains the band’s singer to this day and contributes all the female vocals on album five “The Enigma Of Life” from 2011 and 2013’s “Perils Of The Deep Blue” as well as the brand new seventh record “The Seventh Life Path”, released in May 2015.
Joining Veland and Ailyn on the album are guitarist Jan Erik Soltvedt and drummer Jonathan A. Perez.
The album was preceded in April by the single “Once My Light”, which, even though the six minute runtime is edited down from the album’s seven minutes plus, gives a good stylistic and sonic overview of the record as a whole.
Not dissimilar to other bands in the same genre, such as Epica and Nightwish, you can expect crystal clear female vocals, soaring melodies, banks of keyboards and choral backing vocals, supported by crunching guitar riffs and solid bass and drum work.
I did feel that at times Ailyn’s vocals got a little buried in the mix, though generally this is a very well produced and balanced album. There is a lot going on in each track so maybe I just lost focus slightly?! The tracks do have a longer running time on average than those on the previous album, giving plenty of room for Veland’s ideas to breathe and develop – nowhere more clearly than on the epic “Sons Of The North” with its spoken word middle section. This song is a definite highlight, along with “Insania”, the fast paced “Concealed Disdain” and “Serpent”.
All in all this really is a very good gothic metal album and testament to the strength of Veland’s talent and vision…
1. Seti / 2. Serpent / 3. Once My Light / 4. Elixir / 5. Sons Of The North / 6. Earendel / 7. Concealed Disdain / 8. Insania / 9. Contemptuous Quitus / 10. The Silver Eye / 11. Tragedienne