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It's not that bad... - 65%

elf48687789, May 6th, 2009

The album is quite listenable, providing you avoid the two really popular tracks which have videos. All the elements of good gothic metal are there: hard guitar, clean parts, depressing lyrics, choirs, there are even some growl parts, some clean male vocals and a few violin lines (apparently played from keyboards). But...

...the production sucks. First of all, the tracks are compressed to hell, so instead of stressing the epicness coming from the juxtaposition of the hard parts to the atmospheric parts, it just sounds like crappy pop coming from the radio. Another annoying thing they did was doubletrack Monika's voice and add effects. It's o.k. when they did it subtly, or when they made it sound a little like Enya, but a lot of the time they just made it sound very poppy. I don't know why they did this, Monika has a beautiful voice and there was no reason to ruin the vocals. In pop music, the vocalists are often very bad, so there it is a necessity, but here it's pointless. The sad thing is that the instruments in the song "The Other Side" are o.k., so are the lyrics (yes, I did manage to listen to the whole song once or twice, although it wasn't very pleasant), but the production makes it unlistenable. Especially annoying is the bonus track, which is a radio edit of "My Mind's Eye". It starts out promising with an electronic beat with some vocal sample and nice atmospheric piano, so being a darkwave fan I get my hopes high, then the vocals kick in and the song gets more and more unbearable. This gets annoying in some other songs as well, such as towards the end of the first song, but it hasn't gotten so annoying yet that I can't listen to those songs in their entirety.

One of the best songs is "Sundown". It starts out with a thrashy guitar part, then goes into an atmospheric part with female vocals, then it gets hard again and there's a growling part, even some double-bass drumming, then it repeats the earlier parts, with some different lyrics in the second atmospheric part and some choirs and a guitar solo in the third. It sounds just like the older Sirenia songs, and Monika's voice fits the song perfectly. The only thing I don't like is that I wish the double-bass part was longer, but you can't have everything, I guess.

The other song worth mentioning is "Glades of Summer". That song, despite its production shortcomings, is one of the most beautiful gothic ballads ever.

I suppose they could have made a classic gothic album if they had wanted to, but they would have needed different production ideas.