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Terra Relicta Top 20 Of 2017



01. Sólstafir
- Berdreyminn
02. Ulver
- The Assassination Of Julius Caesar
03. Au Champ Des Morts
- Dans La Joie
04. Anathema
- The Optimist
05. God Body Disconnect
- Sleeper's Fate
06. Peter Bjärgö
- Animus Retinentia
07. Friends Of Alice Ivy
- The Last Days Of Fenwyck
08. Isenordal
- Shores Of Mourning
09. Phallus Dei
- Black Dawn
10. Au-Dessus
- End Of Chapter

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Sirenia - Dim Days Of Dolor (2016) - Review

Band: Sirenia
Album title: Dim Days Of Dolor
Release date: 11 November 2016
Label: Napalm Records

Tracklist:
01. Goddess Of The Sea
02. Dim Days Of Dolor
03. The 12th Hour
04. Treasure n'Treason
05. Cloud Nine
06. Veil Of Winter
07. Ashes To Ashes
08. Elusive Sun
09. Playing With Fire
10. Fifth Column
11. Aeon's Embrace

So much drama in female-fronted metal world this year! First we had to deal with Liv Kristine being fired (leaving) Leaves' Eyes, then Ailyn leaving (being fired from) Sirenia. Of course, crazy speculations from the devoted fan base followed: will Liv Kristine join Sirenia now? Or is perhaps Vibeke Stene available and willing to cooperate again with Morten Veland? Who would it be and what will come of it? Well, the guessing is over and Sirenia, a more than well-known gothic metal installment from Norway announced the new, (already) fourth official singer is Emmanuelle Zoldan. She is though no stranger to Sirenia, as she had previously worked with Sirenia as a session choir vocalist and also stepped into Ailyn's shoes with Sirenia on stage, when Ailyn was forced to leave tour due to personal issues. What really happened is none of our concern at this point, because Morten Veland again felt a breeze of inspiration and so we are witnessing Sirenia's 9th full length album, dominated by the letter »D« in its title - Dim Days Of Dolor.

In a way Dim Days Of Dolor is actually quite similar to its predecessor, The Seventh Life Path, since it is based in its essence on the same fragments, but at the same time it is its exact opposite, because the overall ambient of soundscapes creates quite a strong contrast to it. It is no lie – this album has Morten Veland written all over it: full of fluid melodies, containing typical groovy and smooth guitar riffs, epic and pompous choirs, grandiose orchestrations, emotional piano insertions, enchanting use of keyboards, beautiful lead female voice, which is momentarily contrasted by Morten's growls or clean vocals by Joakim Naess and mad, avantgardish intermezzos, that hide beneath the songs and give each composition a special feel. Momentarily I daresay the album even loses its gothic metal touch and flows heavily in the vein of prog-influenced symphonic metal, something that reminds of early After Forever even. The opening "Goddess Of The Sea" opens up the album in a true gothic metal manner – it is carried by a powerful melody, punching guitar riffs, determined choirs and strong vocal performance by Emmanuelle, but the following, eponymous track delivers an enormous twist and presents itself with a groovy, almost danceable tune, designed and composed so the main melody sticks in your mind whether you like it or not. Moreover, the rest of the album then shifts between many variations of Sirenia’s trademark sound. "Veil Of Winter" and "Elusive Sun" offer a very nice and nostalgic trip down the memory lane to the early Sirenia sound, while "Cloud Nine" sounds like a dark and mad lullaby. The story-telling ends with a profound and serene "Aeon's Embrace", a song which shines in its minimalistic, as its aestheticism is carried only by a gentle piano tune and Emmanuelle's gentle voice. Thus the story wraps itself and Dim Days Of Dolor end in a very peaceful manner, opposed to the bombastic opening.
 
I must take a minute to properly devote myself to Emmanuelle as well, being a new voice (and face) of Sirenia and since the very first listen of Dim Days Of Dolor, she had me. Not only she has an astonishing and very unique voice colour to begin with, her vocal techniques are simply flawless. She sounds crisp and sharp in every minute, every second of the album and her passages between her rock voice and operatic vocals are simply astonishing. The clean and harsh male vocals are heavily minimized on this album and there is no harm to it, since Emmanuelle is effortlessly carrying the emotional charge of each and every songs, as she is able to rage like a fury, seduce as a siren or melt your heart as a grieving goddess. Her interactions with he choir give the album a special value and are probably one of the albums strongest points.
 
If you were hoping Sirenia will bring something new and edgy, then Dim Days Of Dolor is an album you can easily skip. It offers nothing particularly new and you may even find a couple of songs are unnecessary fillers. What I truly miss in this album is perhaps a grandeur, outstanding composition that would shine over all others, such as "Sons Of The North" on The Seventh Life Path or "Sirens Of The Seven Seas" on The 13th Floor or a pinch of truly abysmal obscurity and profound, wounded emotions, such as painted in the atmosphere of At Sixes And Sevens. But if you have come to like its characteristic sound and maybe prefer a bit more catchy side of Sirenia, such as already presented on Nine Destinies And A Downfall, Dim Days Of Dolor will be a nice addition to your collection. The album offers nothing special or particularly outstanding, but it is still more than nice to hear every Sirenia release, even though it seems the band simply sticks to the saying “Why fix it, if it ain’t broken?”.

Review written by: Ines
Rating: 7,5/10

 

Recommended by Terra Relicta

Band: Alphaxone
Album title: Absence Of Motion
Release date: 25 August 2015
Label: Cryo Chamber

Alphaxone reaches into a whole new dimension with Absence Of Motion. Within seconds of listening it is apparent that he is stepping outside his comfort zone this time around. This album is significantly more cinematic than his previous releases. I would even go so far as to say it reminds me at times of Sabled Sun. This is a cinematic experience much like that of Sabled Sun, in that we seem to be following a protagonist through the album from first encounter with a new life form to the final ascent into deep space. Every second of this album is full of life: organic, synthetic, or a war between the two. Absence Of Motion is a thrilling ride. Absence Of Motion may be portraying an alien abduction or the use of futuristic machinery we can only begin to phathom, the full interpretation is up to the individual. This is an easy listen compared to some other releases in the genre, with the intensity and bass levels only soaring at moments giving the listener time to relax and reflect upon all the otherworldly wonders this Absence Of Motion has to offer. A masterpiece by Alphaxone that is sure to resonate for some time!

Read a full review HERE