Sirenia-Perils of the deep blue

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After two years and a rather lengthy period of time spent with Norwegian choirs, Sirenia are back with a new album, entitled “Perils of the deep blue”. If the album cover or title wasn’t obvious enough, the band’s symphonic and rather majestic music is brought to the mysteries of the great ocean (in a general term that is-it doesn’t seem that the band have picked out any particular ocean to write songs about). Now, there’s been quite a bit of debate as to just what Sirenia have been doing with their musical direction in the last decade or so, particularly because last album “The enigma of life” was widely criticized as a formulaic, generic and unnecessarily long piece of work by long-time fans of the band. However, those of you who thought the band would carry on producing albums as tedious as “The enigma of life” can rest easy, since “Perils of the deep blue” is thankfully better.

Naturally Morten Veland has been hugely influential on this album, as he has with other Sirenia albums, but it seems here that Spanish singer Ailyn has provided just a bit more input than mere female vocals. It seems her work with the Norwegian choir has really upped the ante on songs such as ‘Seven widows weep’, ‘Ditt endelikt’ and ‘The funeral march’, and together with Morten’s harsher vocal style, the duet sound flawless together. Morten himself has been working on a much more aggressive tone than usual and elements of black metal are fused beautifully with symphonic flourishes on ‘My destiny coming to pass’ and ‘Darkling’. Even the album’s longest song, ‘Stille kom Doden’, is structured well to create a sound that is both bombastic and majestic in tone whilst at the same time introducing new instruments such as the mandolin and ukulele, giving the band’s sound a newer, fresher twist.

However, whilst the band have evidently worked well on their own particular talents, it doesn’t mean that other songs such as ‘Cold caress’ and ‘Decadence’ don’t suffer largely from messing about too much with synthesizers or a far too glossy production. ‘Cold caress’ isn’t helped when Ailyn attempts to hit notes that are seemingly far too high for her vocal capabilities, and the fact that many of the instruments, most notably the guitar work, suffer from sounding too forced or synthetic show that maybe Sirenia should have cut a few songs from the album in its final stages. Even ‘Decadence’, which isn’t quite as bad as ‘Cold caress’, is mostly ruined because of poorly placed synthesizers and the band appearing to venture into poppier territory. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the instruments themselves had been worked on more in order to give the song a more majestic or symphonic finish, such as on ‘Seven widows weep’. The only other problems with Sirenia’s latest album is definitely the length, as well as the fact that whenever Morten brings his harsh vocals into the mix, particularly in ‘Darkling’ and ‘Stille kom Doden’, they are only used for a brief amount of time, before returning to formulaic symphonic metal structures.

Yes, Sirenia’s latest album is infinitely better than “The enigma of life”, but there are still too many flaws to say it is as good as the band’s best works. For an album that is over an hour long, it could have helped to cut a few of the songs and perhaps involve more of Morten’s harsher-edged vocal style with the predictable Symphonic flourishes that seem to flood “Perils of the deep blue”. Let’s hope the next Sirenia album is shorter and sweeter, rather than being longer and limper.

2.9/5

1. Ducere me in Lucem

2. Seven widows weep

3. My destiny coming to pass

4. Ditt endelikt

5. Cold caress

6. Darkling

7. Decadence

8. Stille kom Døden

9. The funeral march

10. Profound scars

11. A blizzard is storming

12. Chains

13. Blue colleen

14. Once a star

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