|Reviews & Recommendations
(Morten Veland & Co)
Morten Veland : Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboard (ex-Tristania)
Jonathan Perez : Drums (ex-Trail Of Tears)
Pilar Giménez García, aka Ailyn : Female Vocals (2008 - )
Michael S. Krumins : Guitar
Henriette Bordvik : Female Vocals (2002-2005)
Monika Pedersen : Female Vocals (2006-2007)
Kristian Gundersen : Clean Male Vocals, Guitar (2001-2004)
"Morten Veland - Sirenia's lead singer/song writer - used to be a member of Tristania, actually before the release of 'World of Glass'. He quit early 2001 due to personal differences and musical disagreements. Having a lot of ideas at that time, he and started working on his new project Sirenia shortly afterwards. Sirenia's first release 'At Sixes and Sevens' is truly a powerful contribution to the Gothic metal scene. You'll find progressive/industrial elements, rock, death metal and classical influences beautifully composed on this volume. Impressive is also the use of different vocal types as growling, clean, female, whispering and choirs. Veland truly shows his strength yet again as a brilliant songwriter. He has brought in his buddies Kristian Gundersen (clean vocals) and Hans Henrik Varland (keyboard), deriving from the hometown Stavanger, Norway. You will also hear great guest musicians as Pete Johansen (The Sins of Thy Beloved, The Scarr) playing the violin and the french Fabienne Gondamin - another strong female metal vocalist. "
-- buman, seigmen.org
¾ 2002: At Sixes and Sevens
"The former vocalist, guitar player, main songwriter and text composer of Tristania, Morten Veland, has now laid the basis for a new contribution to the gothic/metal/rock scene. Still sworn to the darker and atmospheric genre, he now resurfaces with his brand new band SIRENIA with one goal in mind: to bring a fresh sound into the underground scene. SIRENIA plays a mixture of gothic metal and rock with classical influences, as well as black and death metal elements. Their soundscapes have solid basis in the powerful drums and bass that are arranged in a very dynamic and progressive way and supported by powerful rhythm guitars, dressed with atmospheric keyboards and spiced with melancholic violins and 12-string guitars. The different vocals brought to life are many. The band makes of growls, screams, female vocals, (3 different) clean male vocals, choirs, whispers and samples. The songs are very intense and the atmosphere changes frequently. The lyrics are based on reflections on life, death, love, hate, and mental decline in general. "
½ 2004: An Elixir For Existence
Tracklisting: 01 - Lithium And A Lover 02 - Voices Within 03 - A Mental Symphony 04 - Euphoria 05 - In My Darkest Hours 06 - Save Me From Myself 07 - The Fall Within 08 - Star Crossed 09 - Seven Sirens And A Silver Tear
"This second outing from Sirenia, 'An Elixir for Existence', really doesnt offer too many surprises, but as guilty pleasures such as this generally go, thats a good thing. The only slight change is the implementation of a bit more in the way of electronics. While most songs are fully metal oriented with the occasional techno-like keyboard part thrown in or with just an electronic based intro, the song Save Me From Myself is pretty close to full on trip hop, much like what The 3rd and The Mortal have done since leaving the metal scene. Otherwise, the album is exactly as I expected if a bit heavier than their previous record, and additional heaviness is always good when it fits well with melodies as well-written as these. Its probably only based on my weakness for this style that I truly have no complaints about 'An Elixir for Existence'. As far as I can see, though, every song is memorable, the production is top notch and creates exactly the appropriate atmosphere, and all performances are just as they should be. Occasionally the operatic parts start to cross the line into somewhat overbearing, but thats only very occasionally and theyre all brief enough to do no real harm. (...) If youre not into this style, stay back, its nothing new at all, but if you do like the style, this is probably the best of it youll find."
-- Ian Dreilinger, metalreview.com, 2/04
"... The first problem I had with this album was the fact that all the songs seemed a little too similar, but ain't that always the way. However, after listening to them for weeks and almost living off this album like it was my basic diet, they still sound pretty similar. There are some great parts, though. Lithium And A Lover is a fantastic opener with a great riff and it's an uplifting start to the album. Voices Within is pretty fantastic too, with Morten utilising Henriette Bordvik's soft vocals in the quieter parts to the best of his ability, while Star-Crossed builds up into a wonderful climax in the time-honoured way. Save Me From Myself is a nice slow, if token, ballad, which made me realise that one of the things that made 'At Sixes And Sevens' such a great work for me was the use of the violin, and though there is some of that in this song, there's less than I'd like on this album as a whole. However, there is plenty of choral work, though it seems to have been pasted into the background rather that beautifully woven into the song structure like on previous Tristania albums. One way or another, I get the impression that 'An Elixir For Existence' is rather a rushed piece of work. It feels like Morten's way of throwing husks to a greedy and undiscerning Gothic metal public - a desperate toothy boar that will snaffle up anything as long as it's thrown by the right hand. Still, this is not an album to be sniffed at too much. If you loved Tristania and Sirenia's previous offerings, you won't be disappointed with this. Give it some time and parts will start to shine out at you, whereas at first glance they might have seemed rather dull."
-- Sam Grant, Sonic Cathedral, 2/04
½ 2007: Nine Destinies And A Downfall
Tracklisting: 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
"... 'Nine Destinies And A Downfall' is not a work of Gothic metal but a large dollop of Gothic rock with standard, overproduced guitars, choirs thrown in for good measure where they don't fit and about two minutes of growls on the whole thing. (...) Of course there's nothing wrong with making Gothic rock - or at least music that's tailored towards squarely hitting the mainstream market - as long as it's done well. However, the music contained in NDAAD is so terribly clichéd, hackneyed and stale that even after listening to half the album it's difficult to pull anything particularly good out of the hat to say about it. The album's first three songs, The Call, My Mind's Eye and One By One have almost identical choruses and later in the album Absent Without Leave also ends up sounding very similar. The music is all mid-tempo and though the guitars are quite chuggy and rhythmic this isn't really enough to make the music anything special. As a metal artist Morten knows more than most people how to write rhythmic music and though the songs do contain some pace and pulse, they certainly don't contain harmony, atmosphere or originality. In fact the whole thing is quite staggeringly bland and featureless. Many will also notice the inclusion of a new vocalist in the Sirenia fold, Monika Pederson. I don't know how the band do it but they've managed to get through three vocalists in three albums and it will be interesting to see if Monika is able to go the distance or if she'll be thrown out the tree for the next record. It's sorry to say that this would probably be a wise move since the female vocals on this album are quite bad in places. Monika's vocal tone may be fresh and colourful occasionally, but she's regularly off-key, sometimes for entire choruses. This is apparent from the start of the album since the chorus to The Call could make the most tuneless and tone-deaf listener squirm in torture. It doesn't stop there though, and there were many points where I was shocked that they didn't pitchshift more, or if the original vocals were so bad that not even modern autotuning equipment built and designed by God himself would be enough to shunt Monika's notes into the right lines on the stave. 'Nine Destinies And A Downfall' really does suffer from too many afflictions to be anything nearing a good album. There are so many things counting against it that it's hard to see just how Sirenia can save themselves from this point on. "
-- Sam Grant, Sonic Cathedral, 12/06
½ 2009: The 13th Floor
Tracklisting: 01. The Path to Decay 02. Lost in Life 03. The Mind Maelstrom 04. The seventh Summer 05. Beyond Life's Scenery 06. The lucid Door 07. Led astray 08. Winterborn 77 09. Sirens of the Seven Seas
"Sirenia is on no less than their fourth lead singer in as many releases. The latest is Ailyn (Pilar Giménez García), a member of the Spanish version of Britain's X Factor which, I guess, is like American Idol. With Ailyn in tow, Sirenia delivers another disc of gothic/symphonic melodic metal for the masses on 'The 13th Floor.' Yet, as you well know, it takes a bit more than the standard fare to shake up this venerable and bloated genre. On 'The 13th Floor,' Sirenia does only a little to help itself and the genre gain ground. Most of the advancements come in the form of more complex compositions which near progressive diversity. (...) Sirenia has seen fit to ratchet up the use of dirty and death vocals throughout 'The 13th Floor.' Their inclusion only makes you feel that, once again, another band has succumbed to current trends in order to increase commercial viability. It's not like this hasn't been done before. To coin a phrase: you can put an old fish in fresh newspaper, but it's still going to stink. Sirenia's 'The 13th Floor' succeeds when they push the normal goth/symphonic metal to more progressive ends (...) Though admirable, 'The 13th Floor' could have been better if Sirenia would have pursued their progressive instincts more fervently."
-- Craig Hartranft, dangerdog.com, 01/09
2011: The Enigma of Life
Tracklisting: 1. The End of it All 2. Fallen Angel 3. All My Dreams 4. This Darkness 5. The Twilight in Your Eyes 6. Winter Land 7. A Seaside Serenade 8. Darkened Days to Come 9. Coming Down 10. This Lonely Lake 11. Fading Star 12. The Enigma of Life
"So, let me just start by saying: Ive heard this band before. And really? Im tired of it. You can call me bitter and jaded (or angry), but Id just say that Im not a fan of derivative crap. And Sirenia may be founded by one of the members of the band who founded the genre, but that doesnt mean that theyre doing it any better than anyone else in 2011. This is orchestral metal as youve totally heard it before. Large, bombastic and littered with poor lyrics, catchy choruses that dont catch well enough and just generally banal bullshit. Yeah, I think thats the adjective that Ill use to describe this record. Banal. (...) Fading Star and Coming Down both are pretty good and are heavier than the rest of the record. Theyve got a bit of something to em that everything else desperately lacks. But thats it." This is a band that is going through the motions creating music that is hardly heavy or remotely interesting or even worth a second consideration."
-- angrymetalguy.com, 2/11
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