Sirenia – Dim Days of Dolor (Napalm Records)

  Van Muylem    11 november 2016

Sirenia was formed by Morten Veland in january 2001. Morten’s musical work was already well known through his work with his former band Tristania, a band he co-founded back in the mid-nineties. Being the main songwriter for this band he was a part of defining the gothic metal sound from a very early time on. A lot of things happened recently, so it’s worth checking their new sound!

For those who still have to discover Sirenia: they sound like a mixture of gothic metal and rock with classical orchestrations, in addition to some elements from more extreme metal genres. Their sound have a solid base in the powerful drums and bass supported by massive rhythm guitars, dressed with atmospheric keyboards and spiced with melancholic violins and 12-string guitars. The music is at all times melodic and groovy. The vocal styles are diverse and consist of female vocals, choirs, growls, screams, clean male vocals, whispers and samples. The songs are very intense and the atmosphere changes frequently. The lyrics are based on reflections on life, death, love, hate, paranoia, anxiety and mental decline in general.

The band has been through some line-up changes over the years, but has now settled with a fixed and strong line-up. Sirenia anno 2016 is: Morten Veland (guitars and vocals), Emmanuelle Zoldan (female vocals), Jonathan A. Perez (drums) and Jan Erik Soltvedt  (guitars).

Ailyn (female vocals)recently left the band, but Emmanuelle has been for a while part of the band as for 13 years ago, she was already part of the recordings of their second album An elixir for existence. She has been a part of the choir on all the albums since then. She also did some lead vocals for the band on the EP Sirenian Shores, with the cover version of Leonard Cohen’s (who recently passed away, so it might be nice to check this one out) song First we take Manhattan

I have seen them last year on stage in Brussels (and absolutely loved it), but now that Ailyn has left the band I’m really wanting to hear their new sound. They start with Goddess of The Sea: it sounds a bit like Whyzdom (yup: new female singer has a French background). They sound pretty impressive with the powerful choir, the symphonic sound, razor sharp guitars, the piano and with Emmanuelle on board! Dim Days of Dolor somehow reminds me of a known song and comes close to the typical Delain sound. The song has a happy feel, is very melodic and a has catchy touch. The more you listen to it the more it becomes an earworm. Joakim Næss feature’s in it too, delivering the clean vocals (and that is a great extra). I even hear some electronics onwards the end. The 12th Hour starts with a ticking clock an some electronics before we hear a typical opera voices, hammering drums and guitars followed by male screaming and grunts. The song slowly becomes a sweet symphonic metal track with the angelic versus monster twist. Treasure ‘n Treason sounds a bit softer (with again this Delain touch). I like the piano part and Emmanuelle’s voice. It’s a great symphonic metal pearl with a powerful choir (once they reach their full strength the song becomes heavier and gets more pathos). Cloud Nine even has some breakbeats, doesn’t even sound strange (the previous track also had some electronics in it), after that the choir and Emmanuelle take over (together with the guitars and symphonic sound). Towards the end the guitars are set on fire, delivering a nice fight. Veil of Winter is softer with Joakim Næss opening with his clean vocals, changing it into a nice up-tempo ballad (with spooky effects now and then). The guitars play a nice part. Ashes to Ashes is not a David Bowie nor a Blutengel cover but simply a hard hitting symphonic metal track with cool twists. It will be a blast on stage! Elusive Sun is a hot ballad with great guitars. Playing with Fire starts with special effects on the vocals & hammering drums. Later on it turns into a sweeter song with even some words in her native language (French). Morten plays his part of the vocals too. Onwards the end it sounds more and more like stadium rock with a real wall of sound. I feel that this one will be a hit on stage and loved by the fans. Fifth Column is the typical angel versus the monster singing. There’s a break around the 4 minutes of play, after which we get a fresh start that brings a harder and faster sound. Aeon’s Embrace is already the last track and starts with a piano followed by Emmanuelle’s angelic voice. It’s a tearjerker, an emotional top track and a magical end for this powerful and well worked out album! Don’t forget to check the French version of this pearl!

Well I can only conclude that there is no long transition period: they sound like already united for years with slightly a different sound. I feel happy with the result and can’t wait to see them on stage and see for myself how they sound anno 2016/2017!