SIRENIA – “Dim Days Of Dolor”

Release: 2016-11-11
Label: Napalm Records
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Duration: 57:00

The fact that the Norwegian band didn’t postpone the release of their upcoming album, despite the departure of singer Ailyn Giménez, is both admirable and gutsy. Only a couple of months after welcoming new lead singer Emmanuelle Zoldan, Norwegian gothic metallers SIRENIA release “Dim Days Of Dolor” as planned, barely two years after “The Seventh Life Path”.

It kind sounds like Ailyn, but obviously isn’t.

It’s hard to digest this record without comparing SIRENIA‘s latest two front women. And as much as I personally like Emmanuelle’s voice better than Ailyn’s, it doesn’t really fit the album as it is.

It simply hurts to listen to the opener ‘Goddess Of The Sea’, namely when the vocal lines reach heights at the bridge, Zoldan’s voice reaches its limit in a forced sound that’s just unpleasant. These are high notes, we were used to from the Spanish soprano and as the record goes on, it’s easy to recognise Ailyn’s vocal style shaped most of the songwriting for this album. Another example of this is the first single ‘The 12th Hour’, which is full of Ailyn’s signature vocal-endings of the chorus.

Symphonic, bombastic – and nothing new.

Don’t get me wrong, instrumentally this album is very well written, a highpoint of the more symphonic style that has been growing since 2011’s “The Enigma Of Life”. There are very heavy guitar riffs, rapid and energetic drums, melodic but also some gothic keyboards at times. The strong choirs round up the atmosphere and the occasional clean male vocals provide a refreshing contrast to Zoldan’s very operatic voice.

In general, the songwriting has been kept in the style of the band’s previous releases, and was evidently written for Ailyn. This makes me wonder if the pressure of releasing a full-length album every two years is getting in the way of letting the music mature…? Kudos to SIRENIA-mastermind Morten Veland for managing to find a new singer, while producing the record. But postponing the release a couple of months in light of the sudden and drastic lineup change might have been for the better.

Those songs that have given Zoldan more vocal freedom are more enjoyable, such as the title track, ‘Elusive Sun’ and ‘Playing With Fire’. SIRENIA awaits a great future if and when they take advantage of their new singer, the one with a darker and more voluminous voice, whose strength is not only reaching high notes but performing a wide vocal range with emotion and power.

To know more about SIRENIA‘s lineup change and the album’s production, watch our interview with Morten Veland and Emmanuelle Zoldan at Female Metal Event 2016.

SIRENIA – “Dim Days Of Dolor” Tracklist:

01. Goddess of the Sea
02. Dim Days of Dolor
03. The 12th Hour
04. Treasure n’ Treason
05. Cloud Nine
06. Veil of Winter
07. Ashes to Ashes
08. Elusive Sun
09. Playing with Fire
10. Fifth Column
11. Aeon’s Embrace

What do you think of Sirenia’s new sound? Are you looking forward to this album? Leave us a comment below.