SIRENIA – Nine Destinies And A Downfall

SIRENIA - Nine Destinies And A Downfall
  • 8/10
    SIRENIA - Nine Destinies And A Downfall - 8/10


Nuclear Blast
Release Date: January 26, 2007

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Another Sirenia release (number four if one includes the 2004 EP Sirenian Shores), after almost three years of touring and a few changes in line-up, it should be a feast for all fans of quality Gothic Rock. But, to reveal part of the conclusion of this review already: This album is even more.

For those who do not know the band’s history, here is a short recap: In 2001, Morten Veland parted ways with his bandmates of Tristania due to musical and personal differences, which is the standard phrase for we could not stand each other anymore, but you won’t ever know details unless we get real famous and can make money with an autobiography.” He soon after found new musicians for his new bands in his home town Stavanger. For those who do not know, Stavanger has about 115,000 inhabitants, and it astonishes time and again how in Scandinavia such an abundance of great bands come from small towns and cities every year — seems good musicians grow on trees in that part of the world. Sirenia then relased two albums and the aforementioned EP with a few line-up changes along the way, and toured with several of the usual suspects: Edenbridge, Trail Of Tears, Atrocity, Tiamat, and Theatre Of Tragedy. So far, nothing new.

What is new is that Sirenia went down a path that many bands before followed during the natural maturation process musicians have to go through, which is to become mellower, but at the same time more diverse, interesting, and multi-dimensional. A comparison between the 2002 album At Sixes And Sevens and Nine Destinies And A Downfall will see the debut weepingly run home to mummy. Instead of aggression and simple growls, which seemed to be included only to please the fanbase and often added not much more to the songs, those elements are reduced to a minimum so that only the track “Sundown” lets the roots of the band occasionally shimmer through.

That also makes “Sundown,” while still a good track, probably the weakest piece of music on the album after a few spins, as it lacks the complexity of the other compositions. Sure, this is not exactly Metal anymore, this is Gothic Rock, Modern Rock, or whatever you want to call it, but a big thanks has to go to Morten and his crew for daring to take such a musical leap of faith in the hope to find enough fans to substitute for the old ones that will not be able to follow them down this road.

With the new singer, Monika Pedersen, not only the best voice Sirenia has taken over to date — reminding a bit of Anneke van Giersbergen of The Gathering — instead of being only the elvish voice to spice up the chorus, in Sirenia it is the other way around … she sings the verses, and the growls – if any – appear only during the refrain. Now add to that lots of keyboards that even let the guitar often fall into the background, and bombastic arrangements that at times remind of mighty Therion, and you have a Gothic masterpiece that avoids to be stuck in the same shallow waters with every track that held up so many of its competitors on their way to the top.

So the only point of criticism is that some of the bombastic middle parts used in several tracks (“The Last Call,” “My Minds Eye,” “The Other Side,” “Seven Keys And Nine Doors”) seem to be a recipe Morten’s gang loved a lot, maybe too much as they used it whenever they could. Unfortunately, that makes the later tracks less surprising and interesting. That, and the fact that the guitar sound is really mellow and often leaves no lasting impression, prevents a higher score for Metal fans (you can ignore the last point if you like Rock in general, as this is more of a warning to Metalheads out there). But, the audience has already voted: The album managed to climb to position 54 in the German charts, and even 15 in the Greek charts. Other chart entries were managed in Switzerland, France, and Norway. Check out “Sundown,” “The Other Side,” the title track, and “Glades Of Summer” for a taste (if you have no other means to listen to those tracks: request it when a DJ is online …)


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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