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Sirenia – The Enigma of Life: Review

January 28, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

On January 21, the gothic metal Norwegians known as Sirenia released their newest album. It was done so through Nuclear Blast and is entitled The Enigma of Life. Being the band’s fifth studio release, it was expected that they would have found their groove by now. If they have, they most likely should find their way out of it; The Enigma of Life is not a place this band should remain.

The Music (rating: C)

  1. The End of it All
  2. Fallen Angel
  3. All My Dreams
  4. This Darkness
  5. The Twilight in Your Eyes
  6. Winter Land
  7. A Seaside Serenade
  8. Darkened Days to Come
  9. Coming Down
  10. This Lonely Lake
  11. Fading Star
  12. The Enigma of Life

Gothic metal seems to be the sub-genre most welcoming of female vocalists. The Enigma of Life has a very dominant gothic sound with a strong symphonic edge. There are also numerous sections throughout the album which utilize death metal growling vocals as well as many others which employ choir chants. At all times there is a darker tone  in the music (as expected from gothic music), though there are ballad parts in addition to the metal. Everything that is done in this album seems to be geared towards what is expected by gothic metal, and consequently denies The Enigma of Life any possible chance at uniqueness.

Unfortunately, the record falls on the poorer side of average. Its best parts are the generic parts where nothing goes wrong, but nothing comes remotely close to standing out. However, there are points throughout the album which actually sound wrong and misplaced. Many of these are the death growling sections, in which the vocalist is monotone and uses simplistic rhythms in an already simple passage making the growling unnecessary and even a nuisance. The guitar riffs are quite bland and feel quite shallow and forced at times (“The Twilight in Your Eyes” comes to mind). They are quite generic and lack much substance or diversity. In fact, that same statement can be made for the musicianship throughout the album. Most of the songs sound much to similar and lacking content to keep things interesting for the audience. All in all, it is merely an album with too many wrongs to be of even average quality.

There are a few good things with The Enigma of Life that should not go unsaid though. The vocalist does show sparks of inspiration and worth. For much of the album, it seems like she is there because she has to be. But in songs like “The Enigma of Life” (the one song which I somewhat like), it is as though she is there because she deserves to be. The keyboards and symphonic arrangements are quite good as well, though  nothing overly spectacular. But unfortunately, the bad aspects heavily outweigh the good ones, and it cannot be said that this is a good album (or even an average one).

This is a rather poor album. It makes very little effort to be special in any way. The musicianship is basic and uninteresting, as are the instrumental performances. Even the overall style of the album is quite generic and conformist. Though the vocalist has talent, she does not show enough on this album consistently to salvage it. The Enigma of Life is an album I would recommend listeners to avoid.

  1. Djomi
    February 21, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    It’s a great album; the best Sirenia album so far

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