Sirenia is the 21st century stalwart of gothic metal, formed in 2001 under the name of Masters of Sirenia. They later changed it to Sirenia before the release of their debut album ‘At Sixes And Sevens’ in 2002, and the band is now ready to release their seventh album, ‘Dim Days of Dolor’. Morten Veland, the mastermind behind Sirenia, composes and plays all the instruments on the albums and the line-up comprises full-time live musicians to play the music on stage. Sirenia is known for rarely having a bass player on stage; they play on bass lines being played in the background. Another active member in Sirenia is the fourth and new vocalist Emmanuelle Zoldan, and ‘Dim Days of Dolor’ is Sirenia’s first album with Emmanuelle. Response to previous albums by Sirenia have somewhat been neutral with some albums being extremely good, and others average.
Getting to the album, the atmosphere that surrounds you on playing the first track “Goddess of the Sea” is a direct reflection to the title of the album –it almost incapacitates you. The chorus only enhances that experience. The theatrical aura that the album creates in you can only be felt. The songs, although catchy, are unable to pull the listener into the uniformity of thoughts that the band intended to do with this. Over time, fans have developed a love-and-hate relationship with Sirenia, and after releasing two great albums consecutively, ‘Perils of the Deep Blue’ (2013) and ‘The Seventh Life Path’ (2015), they are expecting another great album, but ‘Dim Days of Dolor’ has nothing new to offer to them except the vocalist.
“The 12th Hour”, “Cloud Nine”, and “Ashes to Ashes” are some of the noteworthy tracks on the album. Moreover, because the production and mixing of the album is good, these tracks stand out as unique, otherwise, the album sounds no different than any other gothic metal album. Emmanuelle hits the right notes with her high-pitched, opera vocals, but there is a certain level of disconnection in her voice; not between vocals and the listener, but between the music and the vocals. Needless to say that she is a vocalist of a great caliber, her opera and rock voice is close to perfection, but the disconnection reduces the effectiveness of the music.
A track that that stands out of the whole album and is the only one on the album that is better than average is “Aeon’s Embrace”. It is pure vocals, keyboard, and violin, which adds a certain gloom to it and is not as theatrical as the other tracks on the album. This is the track you can imagine on stage with nothing but two spotlights on stage for Emmanuelle, and Morten on his piano, and creating a special experience for the attendees.‘Dim Days of Dolor’ is everything you expect Sirenia to have in their music, but that is it. The album offers new songs that Sirenia is known for, but there is no uniqueness in their music that separates them from other bands in the genre.