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One of the newest releases coming out in early 2009 is from Sirenia, a female fronted gothic metal band from out of Norway. This is Sirenia’s 4th full-length release, entitled ‘The 13th floor’, and it is also the 4th cd in a row with yet another female vocalist.
It seems that with this band, they cannot hold onto their female vocalists, as they sing on one release and then leave. 4 cds, 4 different female singers. I really thought that Sirenia had finally picked the right vocalist for their current sound when they released their previous cd called ‘Nine destinies and a downfall’. On that release, Monika Pedersen had the lead vocals after replacing Henriette Bordvik, and was fantastic in my opinion. The whole cd was so good that I remember listing it as one of the best metal releases in 2007. Unfortunately, Monika Pedersen left the band in November of 2007, a short time after the release, the reason being due to musical disagreements.
In April 2008, the band announced that their new vocalist would be Spanish “X-Factor” contestant, Pilar Giménez García, or “Ailyn” the name she was known by during her time on the television show, which originally began in the U.K. and was created by American Idol’s Simon Cowell. The success of the U.K. version has made way for other countries to take on the show, which has now spanned to over 15 countries. Ailyn was chosen as the newest singer of the band out of over 500 women.
Sirenia’s musical change began with ‘Nine destinies and a downfall’, where they opted for a more “commercial” gothic metal sound, similar to other gothic metal bands such as Leaves’ Eyes, Xandria and Within Temptation. The guitars became more down-tuned to give that “heavy chugging” feel. The rough and gruff male vocals of Morten Veland, which were primarily the lead vocals on Sirenia’s first 2 releases, became almost non-existent with the change. Included in Sirenia’s original sound were elements of doom and death metal, also now non-existent from their current sound.
‘The 13th floor’ continues the music trend of their previous cd, while still incorporating the choirs that Sirenia have used throughout their discography. There are also guest appearances by French violin player Stephanie Valentin and vocalist Jan Kenneth Barkved (who also did some guest appearances on Sirenia’s debut release, ‘At sixes and sevens’). Morten Veland’s vocals are used more on this release, more so than on the previous, which should make the fans of their original sound somewhat happier. I feel that this move has been made due to Ailyn’s vocals on the release, which are not quite as developed nor as strong as any of Sirenia’s previous singers. That’s not taking anything away from Ailyn, who has done a great job on ‘The 13th floor’. Getting selected from out of 500 women is a remarkable effort and has to be a good thing.
Although not quite as strong or creative as ‘Nine destines and a downfall’ (in my opinion), ‘The 13th floor’ is still a very good release and a damn good follow-up to ‘Nine destinies and a downfall’. There are some great tracks on here, including “Lost in life”, “The lucid door”, “Led astray”; and the single “The path to decay”, which there is also currently a video for. Without a doubt, the best track on the cd is “The seventh summer”, as I feel that it is Ailyn’s strongest effort vocally, while the track includes a great structure of big choirs, orchestral elements and kick ass heavy guitars. The track is topped off with a short gruff vocal piece by Veland in the middle of the song.
For the newer fans of Sirenia’s latest sound, you will relish ‘The 13th floor’ and will enjoy it as much as you did with their previous release. For the fans of Sirenia’s original sound, you may want to try before you buy as you may still again be disappointed. Other than that, any fans of the gothic metal bands mentioned in this review and including After Forever, Theatre of Tragedy and Epica; will also get great enjoyment from this release.
Originally written for www.metalcdratings.com and www.themetalforge.com