Sirenia_The Seventh Life PathPizza is a sacred thing. When it’s good, it’s damn good. When it sucks, it’s an affront to humanity. An atrocity on a level with the Biafran revolt, just about every Adam Sandler movie, some genocides, and Illud Divinum Insanus. If you’ve read more than one of my reviews here on AMG you will know that I often equate music to food, not just because it is an analogy I think most people relate to, but I love these two things more than even my family members who aren’t reading this right now. I’m not a guy for pie without tomato sauce on it, aside from the occasional amazing BBQ chicken pizza, but that is not to say I can’t objectively critique or appreciate a slice of bacon chicken ranch. The Seventh Life Path may not be my pie of choice, but during my tenure as a music critic, I’ve heard enough from the formative years on to be able to approach an album with at least relative objectivity.

Much can be taken from Sirenia‘s newest slice with extra cheese. First and foremost, mastermind Morten Veland, aside from being only in bands that end with the letter A (Tristania, Mortemia, Sirenia), is certainly a talented lad, handling lead vocals, grunts, guitars, bass, keyboards. Not a surprise, considering that as a co-founder of Tristania, one of the bands that launched this moody ship, he’s responsible for many bands in that boat’s wake being in the water in the first place. To call Sirenia his “new” band wouldn’t exactly be on the ball since they’ve been around since ’01, but considering the impact Tristania had on the scene, there has been much debate as to how Sirenia holds up to his alma mater. Almost 15 years and countless albums from countless bands in the symph goth fleet later, does it matter?

Pick a band. Xandria. Leaves’ Eyes. Amaranthe. Epica. There has certainly been a formula to much of metal through the decades but seldom has it been this predictable. Attractive female vocalist. Loads of keyboards, choral vocals, and melodramatic lyrics. Sirenia does little to push the envelope in a genre that could sorely use a steel boot to the ass. In the promo photos there are two of female vocalist Ailyn solo. What message does that send and how does it contribute to taking Sirenia more seriously when the eye candy is clearly a focal point? Would anyone, ANYONE, have liked Britney Spears‘s music if they never saw a video or picture of her in the early days? Clearly Sirenia‘s marketing team know the answer to that question as well as the rest of us.

The album teeters over an hour, most songs are well over six minutes and, for the most part, they blend seamlessly into one another, whitewashed by an overall lack of original ideas. There are some moments that make the ears perk. “Sons of the North” has the most palatable parts on the album, with a very clever breakdown at around 90 seconds in that is jarring in its odd timing, but rather than having me think, “Man, that was cool,” I think, “Why don’t they do that kind of stuff more often??”

Sirenia_2015a

Ailyn’s clean female vocals dominate most the material, peppered with Veland’s raspy snarl, which walks the line between death and black metal. On “Elixir,” there are the first real noticeable clean male lead vocals, with Morten sounding as schmaltzy as a Norwegian Sammy Davis Jr.. “Earendel” goes into a medieval-tinged waltz about halfway through, and is another head-scratching moment and when they do something out of the box like this, it only serves to make apparent how vapid much of this music is.

There is no doubt these guys can play, but having musicians with this kind of skill perform the music on The Seventh Life Path is like having a paisan from Brooklyn make you a DiGiorno, or a master pastry chef a chocolate-covered Rice Krisipies treat. By the time the syrupy album-closing ballad “Tragedienne” puts a fork in it, all I’m pretty sure I have diabetes.

If you like your music predictable and full of pomp and pretense, The Seventh Life Path will float your dreamy boat right over to your local Renaissance Faire like an Into the Pandemonium without the burden of all that taste and innovation. Me? I’ll pass on that dish and start my insulin doses as soon as the pharmacist fills the prescription.


Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Napalm Records
Websites: SireniaOfficial  | Facebook.com/Sirenia
Release Dates: EU: 2015.08.05 | NA: 05.12.2015

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  • brutal_sushi

    Holy shit, no joke I’m eating some killer BBQ Chicken Pizza RIGHT NOW.

  • I really liked the early Sirenia albums. At Sixes and Sevens was superb. But every album since Ailyn joined has been rubbish, partly because the songs haven’t been as good, but mostly because she has a voice like a strangled cat.

    • I too enjoyed their older stuff, but Ailyn’s voice almost causes me to have seizures. It’s like chewing on aluminum foil as someone uses Wolverine claws on a chalkboard.

      • Alexandre Barata

        Pop Metal at its best, stupid synths, compressed guitars, drums that sound coming from an 80’s pop album, and a voice full of auto-tune. What’s there to dislike??

      • Her voice doesn’t sound as bad as usual in the YT clip in the review – but that’s obviously down to the production, there’s layer upon layer of vocal computer trickery going on there. Listen to the first album with the band before they did that – awful awful singing.

    • Kreegwaldo

      Yeah earlier Sirenia was good, I also really liked Nine Destinies and a Downfall because of the vocalist at the time ( Monika Pedersen ) who was able to sing with actual emotion, range, and variable style. She sounded angry, she sounded sad, there was SOMETHING there.

      The current vocalist is not BAD per se, she’s just totally lacking any sort of emotion or range. She sounds sterile and safe, there is no alteration in her tone, volume or style – she’s just a one note trick.

    • nunka

      Yeah, I had to throw “In a Manica” on repeat to cleanse my palate of this dreck. Sirenia and Tristania have both been trapped in a never-ending spiral of shit for nearly a decade…

  • Alexandre Barata

    I do believe Al Kikuras, that you’re just a sad and fat man that had to endure over 1 hour(!!!!) of too much cheese and maple syrup and too little bacon. BRING ME THE BACON!!!

    On another note, reviewing an album like this is like working on Top Gear but being only able to drive the low bhp Renault’s… Such a tastless thing

    • Monsterth Goatom

      As a Canadian, I have to say there’s no such thing as too much maple syrup… or (back) bacon!

      • Gimmie a toasted back bacon, hold the toast.

  • Pedro Morini Mietto

    This will certainly backfire, but I think “Baby One More Time” is one of the coolest songs from the late 90s, so you can blame me for enjoying that song without the (nevertheless awesome) eye candy.

    • I admire your honestly. Sadly, now we must banish you for flagrant Spearing.

      • Pedro Morini Mietto

        Fair enough.

    • Alexandre Barata

      I can’t see how could that backfire…

    • sickbroski

      You’re being Toxic.

      • Sugo

        You too !

  • Excentric_1307

    Besides new ideas, know what all of these bands lack? Darkness. The best I’ve seen of any is a slight allusion to dark ideas. I think this music video sums up the point well: “Ooooooooo, look, I’m questioning… THINGS”. Give me a break.

    • I like questioning things.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        why?

        • Celaeno

          Why not?

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            Indeed!

    • Monsterth Goatom

      And remove all jewelry?

      • Excentric_1307

        Only the obvious stuff, like large bracelets, necklaces, watches. Otherwise it doesn’t matter.

        Now if they actually shocked someone for the shoot, THAT would make for an awesome video!

    • I think it’s more of the same problem I just mentioned back in the SFU review. They may want to have some low-fat drama as a theme but as a listener there’s no chance for escapism to engage when the music is entirely drama-free, no tension, no spark and no wind resistance to give some life and weight to the saccharine loaded theme.

    • Wilhelm

      The darkness in “gothic” metal is a dying art. Today’s representation of this style is more in line with pop music (both in songwriting and production). You don’t hear anyone today making Widow’s Weeds or Velvet Darkness they Fear.

  • This is beyond boring. I’m pretty unapologetic about my love for Nightwish so in theory I should love symphonic metal. There are bands I really like, but I find the good majority of bands uninteresting. Sirenia songs all sound the same to me, which would be bad even if they were good songs, which they aren’t.
    A side note: I think the age old issue of eye candy female singers can be handled with a little more nuance.

    Also I’m sad that I cannot relate to all these American food metaphors.

    • Don’t be so sad, you will have a long a fruitful life without early onset diabetes and morbid obesity.

      • Excentric_1307

        ‘MURICA.

    • Mayhem

      The funny thing is that you like Nightwish even though their latest creation makes even this album a masterpiece. This one is at least cohesive, and doesn’t waste over 20 minutes of an album with pointless speeches done by a misplaced scientist and ambiental passages. Predictable as their music may be, it is at least memorable, unlike the new NW offering.

      One more thing, NW actually made the performance of employing a very versatile vocalist and they do not even bother making use of her wide vocal palette. Ailyn might’ve not been a polished gem when she joined Sirenia, but now she is indispensible.

    • Nate Howlett

      I’m still waiting for a review of Nightwish’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful, though I think it may the best not to expect a review of that album over here…I don’t want one of my ave bands to have an embarrassing grade

  • JohnC

    This is disappointing to see, I personally enjoyed their previous album. That single, though, is weaker than anything on it. Guess it’s a good representation of this

    • The lady in the video is crying because the song is giving her diarrhea.

  • Wilhelm

    I loved Tristania up until Vibeke left and was mildly impressed at Sirenia’s debut but everything after has been total crap. Sirenia is like the kraft singles of Gothic metal, great for people who like food that tastes like the plastic it’s wrapped in.

  • sui

    Facing an imminent rejection of one of my papers, suddenly I feel I can relate to the band seeing this review, Ouch

    • Celaeno

      that third reviewer will get ya

  • Monsterth Goatom

    The Grim Reaper seems to be getting a lot of work lately. There was the cover for Undead, and now this.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      It was the salmon mousse again!

    • Gonzalo Salazar

      Yeah… What happened to The Goat of 2015?

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Upon reflection, it could be the goat doing the Kvlt thing and donning a black robe.

  • Feytalist

    Sirenia sure like the numbers “seven” and “nine”, don’t they. “At Sixes and Sevens”, “Seven Sirens and a Silver Tear”, “Nine Destinies and a Downfall”, “Seven Keys and Nine Doors” (2x bonus!), “The Seventh Summer”, “Sirens of the Seven Seas”, “Seven Widows Weep”, and now “The Seventh Life Path”. Weird.

    I might be one of the only people in the world to like Ailyn’s voice. I thought their previous album was pretty good, mostly.

    And as a final note, I love that album cover.

    • Gonzalo Salazar

      I like her voice too…
      For some reason, I keep wanting Sirenia to do awesome songs.
      It’s like they almost got(h) it, but would require a slight nudge in the right direction to deliver something that makes it worth to listen a second time.

  • Artem Fomichev

    I enjoy the album :) It has some remnants of older Sirenia and also carries later elements.

    Structures are getting more complex, almost every song goes beyond regular v-c-v-c. The albums has good melodies here and there, more growls as well.

    However, it may seem that the album is not cathcy or accesible enough comparing to previous album. It actually lacks 1-2 tracks such as Decadence / Once a Star / Chains to make album more easier listenting and balanced as a whole.

    I would highlight tracks #2,4,5,6,7,10. Very good stuff.

  • Vice-President of Hell

    Metal (and not only metal) music with female vocals is still a kind of weird for me

  • Artem Fomichev

    I enjoy the album :) It has some remnants of older Sirenia and also carries later elements.

    Structures are getting more complex, almost every song goes beyond regular v-c-v-c. The albums has good melodies here and there, more growls as well.

    However, it may seem that the album is not cathcy or accesible enough comparing to previous album. It actually lacks 1-2 tracks such as Decadence / Once a Star / to make album more stick to your head and balanced.

    I would highlight tracks #2,4,5,6,7,10. Very good stuff.

  • Isma RM

    The Seventh Life Path “1.5”????? ¬¬

    • That could be the cover of a brutal grindcore album.

  • Francois Rosec

    Sirenia best album since “An Elixir for existence”!!!

  • SireniaFan78

    I found AMG’s critique to fair and impartial, but I think the album should got a solid 2.5. I’ve been a fan of Sirenia for years and normally their albums blow me away, but after listening to this one, I was just like meh. Could’ve been better, could’ve been worse.

  • Collin Carr

    If you like your music a-tonal and full of garbage and cliches, The Seventh Life Path is not for you, let me redirect you to Ahbadabra by Dimmu Borgir. Me? I’ll pass on that dish and actually listen to real music and eat the damn hamburger and not pass out since I find myself starved of actual talent and creativity so much in the genre because of Pretentious high-horse reviewers like you who think anything they don’t regularly listen to is absolute trash.

    Didn’t feel so good did it. You don’t have to like it, that’s your opinion, but don’t condescend people who do.

    • This is late in response, but this album sucked moose balls. No apology offered.