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Sirenia: Nine Destinies and a Downfall

Norway's Sirenia are back with a new lead singer and a new album called Nine Destinies and a Downfall, their first for Nuclear Blast. It's been some time since Morten Veland left his former band Tristania, and similarities between the two bands still remain, but if you are looking for symphonic gothic metal, you've come to the right place.

Monika Pedersen is the new "siren" in the band, an expressive and emotional vocalist who sounds like a cross between The Gathering's Anneke van Gersbergen and Annie Haslam of Renaissance fame, with a little Liv Kristine of Leaves' Eyes thrown in for good measure. The songs here follow the usual format heard in this genre-soaring vocals, crunchy guitar riffs, waves of orchestral keyboards, pounding rhythms, plenty of atmospheric interludes, and the occasional male operatic or growling vocals. Some of the highlights include the supercharged riff monger "The Last Call", the catchy hooks of "One By One" (a real moody piece with some intense choirs, tasty guitar solos from Veland, and layers of keys), and the ultra addicting "The Other Side", which contains some of Pedersen's best vocals on the CD. If you like the heavier end of things, check out the crushing riffs which meet Monika's charming delivery on "Sundown" (a song that also sees Veland adding his excellent growls), the bombastic prog-like arrangements and huge sounding choir on "Seven Keys And Nine Doors", and the majestic crunch of "Glades Of Summer", a real intense mix of metal and atmospheric gothic doom.

The release comes with a radio edit mix of "My Mind's Eye", trimmed of only about 20 seconds, which is curious seeing as it's a short song to begin with. Fans will surely dig this latest release even with the change in singers, as Pedersen is quite the find, and those new to the band who also like many of the other female fronted symphonic gothic metal groups should find much to enjoy on Nine Destinies and a Downfall. However, if you happen to be browsing through your favorite local CD retailer and notice the sticker on the front of the CD that says "...For fans of Dimmu Borgir, Tristania, Leaves' Eyes...", be aware that there ain't nothing resembling the mighty Dimmu Borgir here, and I'm not sure why Nuclear Blast is trying to give people that impression.

Track Listing
01. The Last Call
02. My Mind's Eye
03. One By One
04. Sundown
05. Absent Without Leave
06. The Other Side
07. Seven Keys And Nine Doors
08. Downfall
09. Glades Of Summer
10. My Mind's Eye-radio edit

Added: March 17th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Sirenia Website
Hits: 5255
Language: english

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Sirenia: Nine Destinies and a Downfall
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-03-18 08:01:24
My Score:

It is probably no accident that Sirenia; the band that was founded by Morten Veland in 2001, has a very Tristania-like vibe. I am guessing that his origins with the band from their beginnings have a lot to do with it. Yet with Sirenia there seem to be many levels of accessibility that you don't get right away with Tristania, and I mean nothing against them for I love their latest release very much. Nine Destinies And A Downfall has tracks like "Mind's Eye" that will have you singing along after the first listen and few bands can offer you this luxury especially when it comes to the Gothic Metal genre. The key lies largely in the skills of Veland as a songwriter and also in the bands new singer Monika Pedersen. She was an exceptional find and while some of the bands original fans might be distressed at the loss of the singer they were used to, I strongly feel that Monika will quickly win them over with her beautiful and passionate melodies. The appeal of this Gothic Metal band has increased based on their ability to use the known formulas in the genre of the siren singer along with the darker male presence, lifting choruses on top of foreboding grooves and pounding rhythms. Yes, I know all these kind of bands use that formula but Sirenia also has made sure to load this working mechanic into songs that are catchy and easy to remember without losing an ounce of their impact or dark appeal. "The Other Side" is the next most accessible track with a pumping chorus that gets bigger the moment you raise the volume on the stereo. As I listened to them I felt that those who like Leaves Eyes and Within Temptation might appreciate them the most and perhaps even a few who enjoy Evanescence. It's a wonder that with this many interesting female fronted groups that any can offer the listener any levels of difference nowadays and yet we fortunately see this again and again. With Morten's presence in the group there is more use of the Dark vocals than conventional Operatic as Tristania has moved to and when they are brought over the sweet melodies and harmonies - the songs twist and turn into wonderful Metal shapes that are not easy to forget. Veland's growl might spark some of the popular Black Metallers to your memory but the comparison of this band to any of that sort would be unfair to both sides. He not only makes "Sundown" a monster heavy tune with this style, but listeners should know that he has done all guitars, bass, keyboards and programming on the recording as well. Drums are thundered across the tracks by Jonathan A. Perez and as you listen the "air drummer" in you will come alive. In the live setting guitars are delivered by Bjornar Landa. The album also presents the Sirenian Choir, and they bring additional life to the music on the recording. We have seen a full choir work very well for bands like Therion (another Nuclear Blast roster powerhouse) and this looks to be promising step for Sirenia as well to take as well.

This is the bands first recording for Nuclear Blast records as they recently moved on from Napalm Records and I felt that it is a great way to begin with a strong recording such as this. I felt that they were different enough from Tristania to lure some of those fans to their cause without them being left with feelings of cheating on them. There really is no good reason for you not to snare a copy of this when it comes right down to it. They did a great job with this one and truly have tossed another contenders hat into the ring for the hallowed Gothic Metal throne. This is going to be a great battle to watch.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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