Sirenia – The 13th Floor (Nuclear Blast Records)

Friday, 15th March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Methinks Sirenia will take quite the tomato tossing for The 13th Floor from some less-than forgiving members of the metal press, but you gotta hand it to these Nords: the bulk of these songs are sticky-sweet, loaded with Disney-esque Goth metal hooks that pull you right in. Call them a “Nightwish-lite” if you will. Not like anyone in this field would object to such a measure.

Lending to the bubble-gum is new singer Ailyn, whose soft, fluffy, dare we say “teeny bopper” vocals prove to be the perfect offset to the muscular, gruff Goth metal contained within. Ailyn (who surprisingly shares the same exact birth date as yours truly…thank you Wikipedia) floats above mesmeric tracks like “The Lucid Door,” which is probably the best tune of the bunch.

Some may find the quick and easy dump-and-run of “The Path of Decay,” “Lost in Life” and “The Seventh Summer” to be a little blasé, even for Goth metal, but guitarist/male vocalist/mainman (and former Tristania mainman before they went in the tank) Morten Veland pulls no punches. It’s a simple formula to make this sort of thing work and when those swooning melodies and stout, hard-nosed riffs dig in, it’s the oldest trick in the book: the beauty and the beast.

Lest us not forget some overblown synth and orchestral work that pops on more than a handful occasion – it only adds to the pomp and circumstance ofThe 13th Floor. Fools for melody (raises hand), big hooks (raises hand again), and stickly-sweet songs (guilty!) will race to this thing like a bee to honey. Probably the next-best thing to Nightwish in terms of snooty symphonic metal.

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