Dim Days Of Dolor
Released: 2016, Napalm
As I was preparing to review the new Sirenia album, I realized that no one on staff had reviewed the previous Sirenia album, so I wrote a review of each. Feel free to enjoy both!
Morten strikes again! Sirenia have yet another new singer. Just after I thought were settled down with Ailyn providing her lovely vocals for the past four albums. After four different women on the first four albums (Fabienne, Henriette, Monika and Ailyn) and it seems Morten had finally stabilized his line-up. However, Ailyn is no longer the prime female voice. Actually, I can’t blame Morten because in all fairness, Ailyn could have left. Either way, we are introduced to female singer number five, Emanuelle Zoldan. I do mention female, because the male-female, beauty and beast, dual vocal style is integral to the bands sound, so I can’t just say, ‘the new singer’! Emanuelle is actually quite familiar to the Sirenia camp as she has been a guest vocalist on the last six Sirenia albums, so the apprentice has become the new master.
THE DIM DAYS OF DOLOR is the name of the new album and it carries a bit of an odd title and has a slightly odd album cover as well but it all ties together with a central theme. Dolor seems great sorrow of sadness. It is the bands eighth album and a fairly quick turn-around since THE SEVENTH LIFE PATH in 2015, breaking the bands pattern of a new studio album every two years. Morten has pretty much abandoned all pretences that this is a ‘band, as he does everything on this album, so it is very much a studio affair, which may explain why it came out so quickly.
My immediate impression is that this is a darker, heavier and more morose album than it’s predecessor. It is also more straight-forward than previous efforts as well. It is still epic and symphonic but some of the elements such as songs sung in multiple languages, unique instruments and longer songs, have been scaled back considerably.
Emanuelle is a superb singer, certainly more of a classically trained singer. Her tone and delivery is very operatic and she consistently hits some great notes. The male vocals are even a shade heavier as well, even dipping onto Death Metal territory on songs like, ‘The 12th Hour’. Not only is this song the first single, it carries on the band tradition of having songs and albums named after a number…they have well over a dozen of those by now. This could be one of the heavier songs the band has done in a while. All across DIM DAYS OF DOLOR there is the usual host of voices, of varying styles as well as lots of sonic embellishments, sound effects, voice-overs, digital effects on voices. The tone and production are pretty flawless, everything mixed and balanced well. Keyboards are dense and layered and the guitars sometimes struggle to compete for sonic space with so much music going on but it still a very heavy affair.
Sirenia has always been very dense and intense in terms of a listening experience, it is not really casual music. Sirenia has always been one of the heavier of the large field of gothic, symphonic, female-fronted, epic type Metal bands. DIM DAYS OF DOLOR just cements this reputation. This is another excellent album in a long line of excellent album.