Sirenia – The Seventh Life Path (Napalm)Tuesday, 28th April 2015
Gothic/symphonic metal has steadily gained headlining credibility. Sonically throwing a wide dynamic palate in terms of clean or extreme vocals, guitars, keyboards, and orchestration maneuvers beyond the normal ‘heavy’ tones gives the listener multiple angles to latch onto. Guitarist Morten Veland is not a newcomer to the genre: active since 1996 through Tristiana, he formed Sirenia in 2001, now releasing their seventh studio record in the aptly titled The Seventh Life Path and coming full circle as this Norwegian outfit (outside of Spain’s Ailyn on vocals) return to Napalm Records after fulfilling their contract with Nuclear Blast.
The approach to the Sirenia sound is one that is slightly heavier – Morten preferring to establish a very dark, cyber oriented tonality (especially through his choice of snare and guitar sounds) that along with speedier overtones and his own extreme growls makes the 8:30 “Sons of the North” as haunting as it is beautiful. The guitar parts and keyboard orchestration go in tandem to deliver a deeper emotional connection – sometimes reaching death/black proportions in tracks like “Earendel” and “The Silver Eye” (the latter giving a nod to melodic death/folk in its melodies and quicker semi-blast beat sections). Even the 2:08 instrumental intro “Seti” that opens The Seventh Life Path contains all the requisite accents and orchestral/choir build ups to be the perfect psyche-up when Sirenia bursts from the stage in concert.
Even when the band choose to go for the more obvious, modern groove elements that should sway many an audience member for “Serpent” or the quiet, closing piano-oriented ballad “Tragedienne”, there is enough originality going on through Ailyn’s semi-operatic and obvious siren pipes to know that she puts most of the past Sirenia singers in the dust. Add in a scythe adorned villain next to a white clothed hero on the cover and you’ll see the longer than normal 69 minute final product manages to fly by because of Sirenia’s versatile views on the genre.
If you feel Epica have gotten a little too progressive or less song-oriented for value in recent years, Sirenia could pick up that slot in your collection very nicely.