Sirenia – “The Seventh Life Path” (Napalm Records)
Despite being around for some 14 years, and now onto their seventh album, Sirenia might, to some, be one of the more elusive Norwegian bands. Centered around the mastermind of guitarist / co vocalist Morten Veland, his music is a rich blend of symphonic rock / metal with very strong gothic elements added, especially in the siren-esque femme vocals of Ailyn. Supported by epic choirs, atmospheric keyboards, sophisticated violins and 12-string guitars, it all adds up to some serious cinematic grandeur! Still, “The Seventh Life Path” is something of a mixture, featuring both recent styles and stuff from the early part of Sirenia’s career, with the songs being longer and having more intricate structures, especially in the prog like guitar work, although I’d say no less catchy once you get into them, especially on the more dance / groove orientated material like ‘Elixir’. Along with their music, the vocal styles are equally diverse with growls, screams, goth baritone, whispers and of course, vampira femme wails a plenty! Recorded in Veland’s hometown of Stavanger as well as Marseille in France, this album follows up nicely to “Perils Of The Deep Blue” although I’d say songs like ‘Serpent’ and ‘Once My Light’ are comparatively heavier especially in their blackish drum work with the album as a whole being darker in its overall vibe. Definitely worth their weight, although beset by line up changes in the past, I really hope that Sirenia start to tour more beyond their usual summer festival appearances as their popularity is an escapist’s dream that cannot be understated!