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Sirenia - Riddles, Ruins, and Revelations Award winner

Riddles, Ruins, And Revelations
by Kevin Lewis at 29 March 2021, 10:11 AM

SIRENIA is a Norwegian band formed in 2001 by Morten Veland. SIRENIA is primarily a symphonic metal band that uses other influences to round out their sound. "Riddles, Ruins & Revelations" has a more Electronic/Industrial feel than some of their previous works. It is their tenth studio album and was released through Napalm Records on February 12, 2021.

As one of the early pioneers of symphonic metal, SIRENIA has a storied history. Twenty years of experience makes them one of the oldest continuously running bands in the genre. Their innovation makes them iconic and puts them up on the level with the greats of the style, which are too many to name here. SIRENIA is at the top of their game here, which is a feat in itself.

Starting with “Addiction No. 1” we hear the electronic influence in the intro. The keyboards have a techno/industrial feel, and the tone is modern and sleek. The driving beat and heavy keyboard use makes this song really kick. The guitar solo is exquisite and right on the money. This song has weight and depth. It feels big and fills the sonic space in your head.

Towards An Early Grave” begins with some more ethereal keyboard tones, but quickly drops into another killer song with a great guitar riff. The keyboards are more “underneath” the song on this track, adding a layer of depth, rather than pushing the rhythm forward. It is a great way to make the keyboards felt rather than heard, a trick many bands use, though not many use it this well.

Into Infinity” and “Passing Season” both start with more subdued intros that draw the attention before going into the body of the song. “Passing Season” repeats this phrase a number of times, highlighting the power of the chorus. The chugging rhythms really drive the songs into the mind, getting stuck in the mind. You will be humming or toe-tapping/finger-drumming to these long after the music is turned off.

One of the best guitar riffs on the album, though this is a personal preference is in “Downward Spiral”.  This is also the song with some really powerful belting in the vocals. This is not to say other songs don’t have power vocals, they all do. This one just hooks me more than the rest. There is almost always one song that stands out on a record, and this is the song on this record. Some of the notes Emmanuelle Zoldan hit just really impress me in the context of this song.

December Snow” is the song that never really gets heavy, just drifts along, providing a brief respite that allows us to collect ourselves and get ready to finish the album. More of a mid-tempo rocker, this is the song that has some of the most “electronic” keyboard tones, especially when it takes on the theremin sound usually associated with aliens in television and movies. It really adds to the overall sound.

The surprise song on the record is the DESIRELESS cover of “Voyage Voyage”. A huge hit in the mid-80s, it is much more Pop oriented. Their version works well and stands on its’ own two feet. Modern interpretations of the classics do not always work out, but this one does. It is a great wrap up to this record and fits the theme well.

SIRENIA is known to experiment with sounds and genres, and this is no different. It is a bold statement type of record that pushes new boundaries. While other groups have already worked electronic music in, this is done while also adding some techno and industrial elements as well. The musicianship is excellent, as always. The compositions are entertaining and draw the listener in with the normal SIRENIA sound surrounded by new and exciting tones.

The mixing and production are both exactly what you would expect. The sound is crisp and clear, the timing of all the instruments on point. There are no gaps in sound and the instruments fit in exactly where they should be. When the keyboard needs to lead it, does, when the guitars are the focus, everything falls in and supports them precisely. Start to finish, this is a great record.

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  10
Memorability:  9
Production:  10

4 Star Rating

1. Addiction No. 1
2. Towards An Early Grave
3. Into Infinity
4. Passing Seasons
5. We Come To Ruins
6. Downwards Spiral
7. Beneath The Midnight Sun
8. The Timeless Waning
9. December Snow
10. This Curse Of Mine
11. Voyage Voyage (DESIRELESS Cover)
Morten Veland – Vocals (harsh and clean)/Guitar/Bass/Keyboard/Programming
Emmanuelle Zoldan – Female Vocals/French Translation
Michael Brush – Drums
Nils Courbaron – Guitar
Guest Musician:
Joakim Næss – Clean Vocals on Downwards Spiral
Record Label: Napalm Records


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Edited 18 April 2021

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