Sirenia - Nine destinies and a downfall 3/5

Reviewed: 4-13-07





Tracklist:

1. The last call
2. My mind's eye
3. One by one
4. Sundown
5. Absent without leave
6. The other side
7. Seven keys and nine doors
8. Downfall
9. Glades of summer


It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the "beauty and the beast" style of symphonic/gothic metal, but I must ask, is this explosive music style reaching its end? Think about it; After Forever, Tristania, Macbeth, and others have greatly decreased the presence of the "beast", choosing to use female vocals almost exclusively. You all know I love female vocals, but the "beauty and the beast" style has brought me (and many of you, for sure) an awesome variety to my music-filled days, as it gives me a dash of the heavier side of metal.

Not only are these mentioned bands killing the "beast", but many (not all) seem to be headed in a lighter, more mainstream, and somewhat poppy direction, a la Within Temptation, Xandria and even Evanescence. It's not that music like this is bad (at least for me, as I hold Within Temptation very high up on the quality scale), but simply put, I don't want to lose the "beauty and the beast" style.

Well, you can now add Sirenia to my list of complaints, as 'Nine destinies and a downfall' contains the "beast" on track 4 "Sundown" and briefly on a few other songs, that's it. This was quite a surprise to me because their 2 preceding CDs ('At sixes and sevens' and 'An elixir for existence') are amazing and definitely some of the best in the "beauty and the beast" style. In fact, I consider 'At sixes and sevens' to be a masterpiece!

Luckily, 'Nine destinies and a downfall' remains a solid CD and is very heavy; with exception of the first part of track 9 "Glades of summer", all of the songs are crunchy and powerful, but the band is definitely headed in the direction of Within Temptation and Xandria. Admittedly, I find songs like track 2 "My mind's eye" and track 6 "The other side" (which are completely without the "beast") to be quite catchy and in line with the better songs from bands like Within Temptation. Still, where's the "beast"?

I realize what you've read thus far probably belongs on a forum instead of the review-page of a newly released CD, but I greatly fear the "beauty and the beast" style might be reaching its end. Not only have the aforementioned bands gone in a different direction, but other bands of this style have completely called it quits (Even Song and To Elysium come to mind). Sure, we've still got Penumbra, Draconian, The Sins of Thy Beloved, Vanguard, Sunterra, Via Mistica, and some others, but there's no telling what the future holds for these bands. I for one, hope they keep the "beast" alive.



CLINT




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