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Sirenia - The Enigma of Life

Label: Nuclear Blast
Format: CD download
Released: 2011
Reviewed By: Andrew Jantas
Rating: 9/ 10


For old Sirenia fans, it is time to start understanding that for the most part the band has moved on from the "At Sixes and Sevens". Some say this is not Sirenia because of the more prominent female vocal approach on the last 2 albums with gutairist/singer Morten Veland taking a backseat only doing a few growls. The way I see it is, as long as Sirenia have the vintage "Sirenian Choir" that no band does like them, they will always be Sirenia.

 

On 2009's "The 13th Floor" we saw the debut of the beautiful Spanish singer Allyn (Pilar Gimenez Garcia) replacing Monika Pedersen after only one album. I will say Allyn's vocals took some getting use to but that album grew on me after a short while. I am glad to finally see them have some consistency in the female vocal department for once which will help them grow as a band. Allyn definitely trained hard for this 2nd album (the bands 5th), her angelic voice soars on the ballad title track and 'The Lonely Lake' which are def possible live selections. Vocally she really matches well with Morten Veland's leads and keys on 'Fallen Angel' and 'Twilight in Your Eyes'. Morten's guitar solos only make these songs more grandiose then they already are. His majestic keys on 'Seaside Serenade' (which you can hear the passage well as there is a break from Allyn's vocals in the middle) and organ work throughout the entire album was just brilliant. Besides the few growls that Morten throws our way every once in awhile he also shows his clean vocal off on 'Darkened Days to Come' and 'Coming Down'. Fans of the classic track 'Sister Nightfall' from "At Sixes and Sevens" will identify really well with these 2 tracks just mentioned.

But just like the last album I have to say what fully delivers 100% is the Sirenian Choir which are heard on all but 3 of the 12 songs. The power and force delivered by these 5 people are just spine chilling and get better album after album. Combined with Morten's grim cold growls at times I can't think of a band (at the moment) that does this better. Throughout "Enigma Of Life" you not only want to headbang and sing along, but sometimes sway cause the tracks are so catchy. Now don't get me wrong the album is not perfect as Morten's leads can cross over into some generic areas but his solos make up for it (try not to air guitar to the end of 'Fallen Angel' or 'The Fading Star'). Also, 'Winter Land' and 'This Lonely Lake' almost sound like b-sides of one of another as they have very similar tempos and melodies but Allyn's delivery in the vocal department make up for that.

A bonus for Spanish fans on the special edition digipak is 'This Darkness' sung in espanol titled 'Oscura Realidad' which sounds better than the original.

With Morten's former band Tristania making it over to US shores soon I am hoping he's making an attempt to bring Sirenia to the States in the near future.

Highlights: 'Fallen Angel', 'Twilight In Your Eyes', 'This Darkness'. 'A Seaside Serenade', and 'Darkened Days to Come', 'The Fading Star'.

 
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