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Siebenburgen is a good example of a band that managed to unleash a great debut album but failed to develop in the right direction.
Each of their follow-ups was weaker and duller then the previous one when normally it should be vice versa.
Speaking about Loreia, it`s very good atmospheric black with borrowings from folk and doom metal. Mostly it`s fast with memorable folky melodies and good thick guitarwork. All music is in traditional Nordic vein with occasional elements of doom and slow parts are also present. Drumming is very precise. Songs are very compact and range within 4-5 minutes length. That`s really the key-feature of this album`s novelty. Siebenburgen`s music isn`t very diverse but this perfect duration only serves them right. They do not get dull. Unfortunately already on Grimjaur they had lengthy songs with a shortage of riffs. Later they got even lengthier and thus hammering the final nail into their unholy casket.
Another highlight is a female vocalist. She has a pretty unusual voice and can use it well. It has a kind of shamanic eerie feeling to it. As they didn`t use synths on the album she perfectly replaced them with her voice and incorporated cello parts on the album as well. Marcus Ehlin`s voice is less spectacular, just normal black vocals, but thanks to the use of Swedish it still holds attention.
As you probably already guessed Siebenburgen`s lyrics are devoted to vampires and other dark stuff. Each song is a small dark fairy-tale or story.
Not knowing Swedish i can`t judge about their verses, but can state that both vocalists do try to sound convincing and dramatic like actors staging a kind of a horror play.
Loreia was like a breath of fresh air into already-beginning-to-get-commercialized black metal scene. Maybe it was slightly overdue but nevertheless it can easily rival with many good albums of the past. Anyway it`s a rather invigorating look-back upon the time when art meant much more than money.
I've encountered many albums that were not quite what I had expected them to be in my time. About 52 seconds into this album, this turned into one. Celtic-styled female vocals pop up, and if it weren’t for the other aspects of this album, I’d feel as if I had stolen my sister’s CD collection when I was drunk and accidentally popped in one of her Cranberries albums. Luckily, this album has much more to offer than the horribly incongruous female vocals on the first song, “Vampyria.”
First of all, the riffs on this album are absolutely killer at certain places, and no worse than listenable at any other place. The aforementioned “killer” riffs sound like the best of Aeternus (see …and So the Night Became or Beyond the Wandering Moon) but with way more, you guessed it, Celtic influence. At worst, they sound like Satyricon-reject riffs. I mean, back when Satyr had standards and actually did reject riffs. The male vocalist even sounds strangely like Satyr. A nice raspy, guttural growl, but singing in (what I think is) Swedish. The lyrics seem to mostly be about vampirism and other silly stuff, but since it’s in Swedish(?), I can’t really understand it, and therefore I don’t really care. Aurally, there are some really, really awesome vocal parts in this, usually involving our resident Satyr-clone and aforementioned Celtic-styled female vocalist singing together, which sounds surprisingly great.
The drumming is sort of weak, but it fits and carries the rest of the music well, invariably. It’s basic, bob-your-head, so devoid of blast beats that you feel as if you’ve never listened to Angel Corpse, black metal drumming. Thus, we move onto the only real problem with this album, the fact that it sounds like black metal, but isn’t. This is what you get when you combine the crappy aesthetic of bands like Cradle of Filth and (new) Ancient with a great musical sound. There is no hatred here. There is no malice here. In fact, this sounds so painfully happy sometimes that you think you’re listening to a Gothenburg band that was too poor to get Dan Swano to produce their album.
Conclusions: Sounds like Satyr date-raped Dolores Riordan (that wacky broad from the Cranberries), got her pregnant, and used the alimony as blackmail with which to get her to sing on his new album. I still like it though. Great male vocals, a decent female vocal sound which is more than made up for with the vocal techniques that are used, guitar-work that is at worst competent, and drumming that isn’t that great, but probably won’t bother anyone. This isn’t for you if you’re looking for ugly music. If you’ve been listening to old Ildjarn for the past 5 years straight, however, this might be just what you need. I know I needed it. Forest Poetry be damned, Siebenburgen injects musicality into black metal, makes it all pretty and fluffy, and has the same charm that is exuded by those cute little veal-calves in all those PETA videos. It breaks my heart, really. This gets an 80% because it kicks moderate amounts of ass except for that whole being-black-but-not-really thing.
Whenever I come to think of vampires or vampiricism, two things come to my mind. The first one is Interview with a Vampire, and the other one is this album. It was one of my first "black metal" albums, and still one of my favourites. The first track, 'vampiria', is still my favorite songs in all cathergories, it has everything you can ask of. The title track is almost as good as the first, but I think it's missing the last touch before release.
Rosdahl's drumplay is altrough very good, and it matches perfect with Folkare's guitars and Waldehaug's female vocals. Ehlin's growls are good aswell.
The only matter that keeps me from giving Loreia 100 points is the order of the tracks. Siebenbürgen burn off all the best tracks in the first half of the album, leaving 'minute-killers' in the end. Those are not bad tracks, but just sounds just like the first ones.
Anyhow, this is a very good album, and I recommend anyone with at least a bit of taste to buy this album.