One of the strange facts about Metal is how limited the formula can be, at times. The guitar, drums, bass and warbler model stands firm for a surprising range of genres, from Black Metal to Death, to Thrash, to the NWOBHM… So, give cellist Jo Quail a round of applause for trying something new with her new album, Exsolve (self-released). Continue reading
On The Seventh Life Path (Napalm), their seventh studio album, Norwegians Sirenia pull out all the stops to set themselves apart from others in the Symphonic Metal field. It’s refreshing to hear pure synth sounds, as in the intro to ‘Once My Light’, rather than merely a synth-orchestra, though the orchestra is in full force throughout and delivers all the bombast that Symphonic Metal fans could hope for. And from the very first song on the album it is already clear that the choir arrangements are equally dramatic as the orchestrals, with ‘Elixir’ featuring some particularly remarkable choral work.
There is a very pleasant contradiction between the low male vocals and high female lines. This contrast is even stronger because it is generally followed by grunts. Other great choir parts can be found in ‘Insania’, again contrasting with the grunts of Morten Veland, and in ‘Sons of the North’ where the male choral intro is quite unlike any of the other lines on this album. Unfortunately this song had a weird little thing going on with the drums in the verse that made it appear as if the song was skipping. This, however, was soon forgotten owing to the overall quality of the music, especially the disturbing piano solo.
Besides the choir, vocals are provided by Ailyn, who has the soft and sweet voice that is common in this particular genre, although she does sometimes hint at a more powerful voice. Some of the backing vocals on the beautiful ‘Tragedienne’ have a ballsiness to them that I really would love to hear in the main lines. As it is now, I am glad to have the grunts and choirs alongside the softer singing. There is one major exception though: ‘Contemptuous Quietus’ has a very deep classical sound very much like the voice of Simone Simons of Epica. This power really suits the music very well.
This album has a great amount of bombast on a bed of surprisingly heavy metal guitar, drums, and bass, with a layer of catchy licks and synths and a variety of vocals. It has a distinct character that will definitely appeal to fans of symphonic metal.