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Album Reviews : Sirenia – Dim Days of Dolor

By on March 7, 2017

SirenaSirenia has always been a band for me that has drawn the short straw. What I mean by that is musically the band has been as brilliant, and if not better than their genre counterparts in Finland’s Nightwish, but for some reason the Norwegians haven’t achieved the same resonating level of success. I think there is just something about the way that Morten Veland composed that really sets Sirenia’s music apart and highlights how unique it is. So how does their latest album Dim Days of Dolor stand in comparison to the rest of their catalogue? Let’s find out!

From the onset, the first thing that should be discussed is just how well Emmanuelle Zoldan fits in on the female vocals following the departure of long-standing member Ailyn Gimenez last year. Zoldan’s classical training just feels so natural with these songs and while she has been a part of the choir sections for Sirenia for many years, her elevation to female lead just seems like the perfect fit.her influence is that recognisable that the first third of the album I found myself wondering why her vocal power hadn’t been harnessed fully before this time, because she absolutely knocks the tracks out of the park.

Where the album really gets its momentum from is through Veland and his writing ability. Where Zoldan’s vocals provide the calming force on this album, Veland’s dark gothic writing style really drives home the narrative that Sirenia strives to achieve. I mean that in the respect that each song has the grandiosity that you have come to expect from the band over their past few releases. While most of the songs follow the regular symphonic metal recipe, it’s in the careful layering of the tracks that build the epic overtures that make this album great. This is where Sirenia excel on Dim Days as it seems like the music continues to capture the essence of all that make Sirenia a good and decent band.

With that being said, there are a few things which don’t work well (albeit after showing improvement over their previous work), such as Veland’s harsh vocals which just don’t seem to hit the mark. I’m not sure if it is a result of him spending too much time writing and composing the material to practice that singing or if it is just the way that it is intended to come across, but it feels forced at times. The other item to point out is that while the song structuring is a marked improvement over anything the band has done before, it still falls into all the formulaic female-fronted symphonic metal tropes that have been exhausted to death now. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing but I really think that if Sirenia is to become the band I know they can be then they need to hit the fans with something out of left field. The perfect opportunity to have done that would have been this record with Zoldan performing something that harnessed her range and ability while deviating from the normal stylistic structures for the first time and knocking something out of the park. Alas that was not to be.

Will this album see the same level of success than albums from other bands that perform similar styles of music? Probably not, which is a damn shame because Sirenia are a band that continually recognise their faults and improve on them with each and every release. Being the third album in three years there might be some that are skeptical that the creativity has started to stop flowing but that’s not the case at all. While not without its faults, I found myself listening to this album more than a handful of times (which is more than I can say for other Sirenia albums). This isn’t going to be an album for everyone, but those that love a female fronted gothic sound, similar to Nightwish, are going to love this.

Band: Sirenia
Album: Dims Days of Dolor
Year: 2016
Genre: Symphonic Goth Metal
Label: Napalm Records
Origin: Norway