Review Summary: A magnificent shot at symphonic/gothic metal from a band that was previously on a downward slope, this has an amazing vocal performance and solid instrumentation throughout.
The cover art of Sirenia's latest studio album Perils Of The Deep Blue should be a good indication as to how they sound. The image of a mermaid surrounded by skulls, carelessly trying to seduce the person looking at the artwork gives an insight into the wonderous and yet occasionally brutal style of music this band plays. They are a symphonic/gothic metal band hailing from Norway that has occasionally added in dashes of death metal music to make for a very enjoyable formula. Or at least that was until the release of 2011's The Enigma Of Life, which showcased a stripped down, boring album with little to no merits about it and is just painfully average throughout. Thankfully, their sixth studio album does a lot to correct this wrong.
Aside from the 2005 EP Sirenian Shores, this may well be the band's finest outing to date. It contains arguably more harsh vocals than ever before, but the vocal palette is not limited just to these. The clean singing is absolutely beautiful here, and will no doubt come close to pulling the listener into a trance. Whilst Morten's harsh vocals are strong, it is Pilar "Ailyn" Garcia who steals the show here. The Spanish singer puts in the performance of a life time, hitting some incredible high pitched notes but also expanding her range to include more mid-range vocals. Stille Kom Doden, a thirteen minute long song, is perhaps the best example of this, with countless fantastic vocal lines and some amazing notes hit by the front woman. The single from this album Seven Widows Weep is also a fantastic performance from her, with some brilliant highs and it best shows off her newer, more improved and more energetic style. The previously mentioned Stille Kom Doden is probably the standout track here for the simple fact that it never really lets go of the listener. It has a lot of emotion behind the vocals, whilst there are constantly little passages that will catch your ear, such as the amazing keyboard performance.
The instrumental performances are a lot better here as well, being a far cry from the minimalistic, stripped down nature of instrumentation that was present throughout The Enigma Of Life. The keyboards here keep the symphonic side of the band alive, particularly coming into their own throughout the second half of the album. The symphonic section of this band is mainly limited to the keyboards, but they really are beautiful and make for an awe-inspiring experience throughout. The rest of the instrumentation is no slouch either, and nor is it left behind by the keyboards and vocals, both of which are massively improved from anything else Sirenia has done on this album. The guitars are both thick in tone and very heavy, and are quite creative. The riffs are nothing too special but it is certainly nice to hear an added dose of skill behind the playing. Decadence shows off some quite nice drumming, but there are some cool fills throughout, and it is also nice to be able to hear the bass for once on a Sirenia album despite the fact it doesn't really stand out at any point throughout the album.
This is an album that really took me by surprise, with some much-needed improvement on the symphonic frontier and an incredible vocal performance, not to mention the beautiful riffing and the highly melodic performances across the board. Recommended tracks would be Decadence, thirteen minute epic Stille Kom Doden and beautiful closer A Blizzard Is Coming. These songs capture this band at their absolute peak and showcase why they deserve more attention than they receive. This is not a perfect album by any means but it definitely shows the band willing to move forward and come off of the back of their worst studio album with what is arguably their best to date.