on 21 February 2005
This is a strong and richly textured album mixing heavy metal guitars, swirling keyboards, violins and choral arrangements.
In tone it is decidedly gothic metal and sounds like a cross between Cradle of Filth and Fields of the Nephilim with the pleasant addition of some female vocals.
'Lithium and a Lover' opens the album in good style and is pretty representative of the the album as a whole, featuring both heavy guitar oriented sections and lighter female vocal led passages.
There are also a couple gentler tracks;the instrumental 'Seven Sirens...' and 'Save Me from myself', which is reminiscent of the ethereal techno-goth style of a band like Collide, but the violins give it a more dynamic 'real music' feel than a midi alone could achieve.
It's not easy listening/background music but if you are prepared to listen to it, the combination of complex structures and the counterpoint of heavy and light is a real treat.
on 5 September 2008
After their excellent debut "At Sixes and Sevens", I brought the entire back catalogue of Sirenia's albums. This is their sophomore effort.
The music is fairly gothic in tone and includes both male (growling / clean) and female (angelic / ethereal) vocals.
The first thing to notice is that the male vocals are very much in the same style as before. They are quite growling but not unpleasant and they do suit the driving music very well. The female vocals on this album are provided by a different singer to the last one although it is quite difficult to tell them apart for most of the duration. I prefer the female vocals on the first album but they are still very good here and it is pretty marginal overall.
As can be gleaned, the performances are all top notch. The only disappointment is that the tracks don't quite grab me like they do when I listen to the first album. I can't quite put my finger on why this is the case although it may be that the album sounds very similar to the first in style and tone and of course, this slight lack of originality lessens the impact.
In summary, this is by no means a bad album. Indeed, if it had been produced by a different artist, I would probably be raving about it. However, because their debut was so good, they would have had to produce a stellar recording for me to get the same reaction and this doesn't quite reach the heights I'd hoped. Having said that, there are still tracks that I can call my favourites and these are "Voices Within", "A Mental Symphony" and the haunting "Save Me From Myself".
on 29 July 2011
Having "Discovered" symphonic metal by a chance catching of a "Nightwish" track on MTV a few years ago, I got pretty hooked into the metal stuff. Having played most of Nightwish's albums to death and feeling they've lost their way a bit with the new lead singer, I've been looking around for some similar stuff. First attracted to one of their later albums with Aileen doing vocals, (The 13th floor), I was impressed enough to obtain Sirenia's earlier stuff. Elixir for Existence is the best one of the bunch so far although I'm still waiting delivery for "At sixes and sevens".
As the other reviews state, it's Gothic metal with some reminiscence of Sisters of Mercy on occasions. I've been listening to the album while out hillwalking and going to the gym. It's got some heavy tracks with the growling stuff taking a bit of getting used-to, but the contrasting delicate and sometimes haunting female vocals work well together. The guitaring is excellent and there's some really good riffs that hook you right in. A couple of ballady tracks as per the norm but on the whole a good punchy album that shouldn't disappoint the metal types provided its given a chance to grow on you. Definately not background music.
on 13 March 2004
Having been knocked over by their first album, 'At sixes and sevens' ,perhaps my expectations for the second album were too high. Do not get me wrong, this album has some very nice tracks on it but unfortunately for me, they didn't live up to my expectations. If you haven't already heard Sirenia, buy the first album, its much better, if you have already bought the first album, and liked it, still buy the second album.
The music on this album is a little more down tempo than the first and there is a bit more male growling going on in some of the tracks, however there are some beautifully written tracks that are not to be over looked, with the usual haunting female vocals.