SIRENIA is one of those bands that make it very hard for me to review them and that can get fairly frustrating. Debut “At Sixes And Sevens” was a brilliant piece of symphonic Gothic Metal, following “An Elixir Of Existence” also was excellent, but “Nine Destinies And A Downfall” to me was that – a downfall. There were a few line-up changes and musically they turned a lot more towards Pop, additionally layering the vocals, so that didn’t go over too well…
Now two years after that Morten Veland is back with a new album and once again a new vocalist, this time around Argentine singer Pilar Giménez Garcia and I wasn’t sure what to expect of “The 13th Floor”, as the last album had been such a letdown. And opener “The Path To Decay” seems to roughly follow down a similar direction, extremely polished, fairly modern guitar sound, symphonic and catchy, some Death vocals and at the end the choir, which is the best part of the song, not a bad track by any means, but nothing that has me at the edge of my seat and the same goes for “Lost In Life”, which also is nice, but harmless. So if the first two tracks evoke this kind of reaction in me, this does not bode well for the album, not does it?
Well, just as I was ready to count “The 13th Floor” out, “The Mind Maelstrom” hits and does it ever hit hard! The big choir is back in full force, with the heavy guitars, and I am a sucker for that combination, so that reeled me in right away, the rest of the song also reminds me a lot of the debut, with very varied vocal approach, the choir, dynamics and all, there still is some life in Mr. Veland’s creative mind and it seems to really kick this album into motion, “The Seventh Summer” is a little more polished, but has way more dynamics than the first two tracks, “Beyond Life’s Scenery” once more produces this great balance between heaviness and atmosphere (and the choirs *grin*), a great trio to revive this album!
With the exception of “Winterborn 77”, which is a little so-so, the rest of the album also kicks some tail, with “Sirens Of The Seven Seas” being something different, completely with clear male vocals and some choir, with the word “sirens” in the title you’d expect some siren-singing, but this is the only one, where Pilar is out of the picture.
The production is clear and powerful, if a little polished, which might deter some people as being too slick, but it still fits with the songs, especially when they manage to re-capture the grandeur of their early days, so despite a few tracks still being “tainted” by the previous album, “The 13th Floor” is a definite return to form and restores my hope in SIRENIA.
(Online August 20, 2009)