SIRENIA: Riddles, Ruins & Revelations (Napalm Records)

  Van Muylem    13 februari 2021

Symphonic metal institution SIRENIA are renewed in darkness on their tenth studio album, Riddles, Ruins & Revelations, released on February 12 via Napalm Records. The quartet around mastermind, bandleader, multi-instrumentalist, composer, songwriter and producer Morten Veland is certainly not afraid of combining a heavy symphonic sound with modern influences!

I follow Sirenia since I saw them together with my son who was back then 6 years and enjoyed it despite the fact they performed really late that day. Now he is 12 and still likes them (to be honest he loves Morten’s voice). Since that gig Sirenia also got a new singer (Emmanuelle Zoldan), making it since then a French/Norwegian band! They also have a new drummer: Michael Brush (Ark Ascent, Holy Tide, Magic Kingdom). This makes that the drums sound a bit different and harder.

They start with Addiction No. 1: mixing electronics/ some sampling with heavy metal and a fat bass sound. You can almost see the fire’s light up next to the stage whilst performing it. Yes, I miss gigs a lot, so my imagination goes crazy! I like Emmanuelle’s warm voice.

Towards An Early Grave shows the power of an opera minded voice in the start, but changes fast into a calmer and yet very melodic track until Morten unleashes his growls. I like the symphonic touch and the deep bass. I like the a-cappella outro. Into Infinity almost starts like a classic VNV Nation song, until the guitars and a spooky sound appears. Halfway the song sounds louder and louder and gets more and more instruments and different sounds in the room.
Passing Seasons mixes rambling guitars with synths and a touch of symphonic metal with a slice of opera vocals. It’s an impressive song (vocal wise)! A heavier sound and more rambling guitars and a grunting Morten comes with We Come To Ruins. I adore the backings who really sound strong and scary. Emmanuelle sings sky high with an amazing power. The tech and synth sound are cool elements, next to the almost sacred feel.

Downwards Spiral brings in a French touch for the first time on this album with Emmanuelle’s whispering. I also hear some male clean vocals (Joakim Næss) and a slice of a sacred feel. The chorus is almost catchy. A very powerful song with death metal grunts is Beneath The Midnight Sun. Mix it with some synths, some electro, a strong female (opera) voice, snares that almost melt, a deep bass sound and hammering drums and you know this is a very fuelled track! The Timeless Waning has a trancy feeling in the beginning, with a deep bass and floating synth layers until Morten ads his heavy voice and shreds it all to pieces. Some sampling opens December Snow followed by strong synths and an almost electro feel kind of a ballad with a spooky sound. Once again we also hear some French words in it. This Curse Of Mine almost sounds like something holy, going along with strong drums, heavy bass and rambling guitars mixed with a slice of symphonic metal. The last track is a classic 80’s song and it always needs some guts to cover it, but the song fits like a glove with Emmanuelle’s vocals and the light metal sound: Voyage Voyage (Desire). I even start to wander why we don’t hear more metal sung in French as it sounds really great! Well folks: enjoy the clip and think about it!

This album marks some changes and some innovation and that is always a great thing. Too much bands keeps on rechewing the same old sound, not Sirenia and I’m more then thankful! Welldone!