REVIEW: SIRENIA – “Arcane Astral Aeons”
Norwegian Goth rockers Sirenia are gearing up to release their ninth full length album, ‘Arcane Astral Aeons’, on October 26th, a full two years after their much acclaimed ‘Dim Days Of Dolor’. Revisiting some of their core pummelling symphonic sounds, coupled with operatic rock stylings alongside occasional black metal trademarks, ‘Arcane Astral Aeons’ looks set to deliver an exciting and eclectic mix to usher in the next chapter of the bands discography.
Bassist, co-vocalist, composer and mastermind behind the group, Morten Veland overlooks no detail, no matter how fine. A talent highlighted in the album’s first offering, “Love Like Cyanide” which handles leading single duties with significant style. Hooking choruses and a general smooth flow takes this lengthy epic to a place where it feels like a quick shot of adrenaline. Another worthy contender for standout track can be found in the mazy, yet massively melodic “Asphyxia”. Devilishly haunting with a kick in its main riff that makes a much welcomed recurrence, “Asphyxia” easily stands among the records best.
At times straightforward in structure, such as the playful rhythms that make up “Queen Of Lies,” at others it offers a rather perplexing network of arrangements like the ones found in opening number, “In Styx Embrace”. Yet the tie that binds it all lies in the band’s prime vocalist, the enchanting Emmanuelle Zoldan. Zoldan bends and reshapes her operatic voice to cater to the specific needs of each track. If the hefty majority of songs deliver stunning, soaring vocals, Zoldan reveals other dimensions in the adventurous “Into The Night”, and on the albums grand finale, “Glowing Embers.” Here, following a winding course through this diverse end piece, Zoldan effortlessly glides between operatic, gentle swoon, and hard rock, each a testament to her vocal flair.
On their latest installment, Veland reminds us that he remains as talented a multi instrumentalist as he does a songwriter. ‘Arcane Astral Aeons’ doesn’t go a long way toward redefining Goth, Metal or Symphonic, but it is a toxically good exhibit of all three, composed by someone who understands each intimately. Tending to the dramatic composition in the string sections as much as the overall band dynamic, the two create a sonic landscape that harbours elements that fans from all backgrounds can enjoy.
‘Arcane Astral Aeons’ is a labyrinth born of ambitious musicianship. There are paths simple and direct, others rewardingly challenging, and just a few that produce an uncomfortable struggle. All of which create a web too irresistible not to explore.