Review Summary: Symphonic Death Metal that actually manages to combine both sides of the coin to make a masterpiece
The best way to describe the assault on the ears that is Sirenia's twenty one minute long EP released in 2005 entitled Sirenian Shores would be "epic". Everything about this EP seems geared up to absolutely astound the listener from the mixture of a collection of very over-the-top harsh vocals and operatic vocals with some clean singing from both a male and female. Couple this with the frequent use of symphonic music and some sections of crushing brutality and one could best describe this as a more refined Wintersun. The two bands are similar enough in nature except that Sirenia actually know how to structure a song that doesn't drag on for fifteen minutes, with the opening song being the longest one clocking in at just over six minutes. For the most part, Sirenian Shores is definitely a release worth checking out.
To open an album like this with a mixture of piano and symphonies with an underlying guitar riff before diving headfirst into the very well-done growled vocals and still carry the symphonic side of the band with it before moving into some very unique female vocals immediately gives off the feeling that this will be something great. From start to finish this is a release that never fails to stay true to both itself and its focus, and really does astound the listener with some amazing riff-work such as the one found two minutes into the title track that is just pure melodeath goodness but this really is an album where the focus is on the vocal work. The guttural roars are masterfully done and the cleans always take presidency when they are being used but also the operatic vocals are just as nice to listen to. This is an album where the vocal work is consistently at the forefront of what the listener hears purely because of how solid they are. Just four minutes into the EP you have already been barraged by a huge arsenal of different vocal styles that always feel completely necessary and wholly at home on this album.
This is the rare case of an album that blends symphonic metal with extreme metal where the two do not at all conflict. Both sides of the band are represented well here with some beautiful strings section and also some headbangable goodness from the melodeath side of the band. One needs only to hear the incredible female vocals over the top of a dark and depressing gothic instrumental in the second song, Save Me From Myself to be convinced that this band has it all, although it is on this song that the band's one flaw becomes apparent. The lyrics are both childish and ridiculously poor with no conviction in them whatsoever, instead feeling like a parody of what a real band should write. Listen to the entire duration of the EP and it fast becomes grating as the lyrics just do not feel at home on the record.
This EP is more than worth listening to as it provides a solid dose of symphonic/gothic metal with a wide array of different vocal styles and musical talents pooled together to make an incredible release. Unfortunately this has flew under the radar and nobody really caught onto it but it deserves a lot more attention as it really will amaze you.