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Since 2001, the Norwegian band SIRENIA  has been of the well recognized bands in the Symphonic metal scene, but it has never got much attention from the fans of the genre. Living mostly in the shadow of huge bands like NIGHTWISH and EPICA can make it really  hard to thrive.  However, SIRENIA managed to survive all those years and they have just released their eighth album “Dim Days Of Dolor”.

Turning to the lead singer, SIRENIA decided to replace their old singer Ailyn, with Emmanuelle Zoldan. Emmanuelle, has been part of the band’s choir since their second album and now she is the one representing the band. For most of their fans out there, that was one pleasant surprise, as Emmanuelle has an amazing voice, quite reminiscent of the Tarja era of NIGHTWISH. Her singing skills can impress even the more demanding listeners and it gets clearer and clearer after each song.

On the whole, the album is a classic Symphonic metal album with not a big amount of surprises. Nevertheless, it has some really notable moments and a lot of songs stand out from the whole. Interesting piano lines, like the album’s opening song “Goddess Of The Sea”, accompanied by epic strings and beautiful solo melodies.  The experimental sounds could not be missing, like the introduction of song “Cloud Nine” which features a beautiful harp-like sound in the beginning. Once again, interesting well-placed choirs were used affirming their Symphonic Metal sound for good. Thankfully, SIRENIA, did not stick completely to the “Symphonic” to the point of neglecting the “metal” part. “Ashes To Ashes”, contains a really interesting guitar riff and “Elusive Sun” contains a fast played riff, in combination with drumming blast beats, proving that this is really a metal album after all.

“As a whole, “Dim Days Of Dolor” lacks cohesion and homogeneity.”

Unfortunately, “Dim Days Of Dolor” is not perfect. Apart from the interesting moments stated above, there is a handful of negative aspects that someone cannot just overlook. The album is classic symphonic metal, but maybe way too classic. You can’t hate most of the songs, but they are not actually state of the art. Morden’s attempts in growls, is again not the best. Trying to include growls in their music is a plus, but it is not done in the right way, as they are pretty poor. Lyrically, the whole album, is pretty cheesy and a little shallow. With cliché phrases like ashes to ashes and love oriented songs they really can’t spark the flame of emotions and empathy.  But even if someone overlooked the previous negatives aspects, they definitely could not overlook the fact that after listening the album once, a strange feeling of fatigue washes over the listener. The whole fatigue emotion derives from the lack of consistency throughout the album. From palm-mutes, blast-beats and growls, listeners instantly move to a calm choir bridge, with piano creating huge contrasts during the songs, making it really hard to go with the flow.

In brief, SIRENIA, made a really good effort with this album, to reinstate themselves in the Symphonic metal genre. Taking into consideration their past albums, they have really improved their sound and there were a lot of stuff that drew my attention. However, the album alone was not a masterpiece. There were many flaws and somehow I can’t make myself love it. Sudden music shifts, cheerful to melancholic songs, ballads to powerful riffs, the listener struggles to follow the album’s course.  Judging the songs one by one, they were not repetitive and every single one of them has its good moments. But as a whole, “Dim Days Of Dolor” lacks cohesion and homogeneity.

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