Sirenia - Nine Destinies And A Downfall
Nuclear Blast
Gothic Metal
9 songs (43:03)
Release year: 2007
Sirenia, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Sirenia fans abruptly split right down the middle when album number three came out, the hiring of new, surprisingly chubby vocalist Monika Pederson (come on, admit it, most Goth Metal chanteuses are as slim and lithe as possible to catch the teen male audience) and a shift in styles causing equal amounts of rapture and hatred amongst the Metal populace. Yet revisiting Nine Destinies And A Downfall a couple of years later (on the eve of the release of a new album from Sirenia, Morten Veland’s Megadeth to Tristania’s Metallica, if I dare make such a comparison) a few listens reveal that it isn’t quite the Soilwork’d-up tribute to Britney Spears that the haters would have you believe. However, yes, there is a significant move away from the excellent first two albums, a move towards Within Temptation territory that will have the kvlt gnashing their teeth and shrieking obscenities at the top of their little squeaky voices. Aw, bless.

Frankly, folks, you’ll either love it or hate it. Personally, as undeniable as the Nightwish and even Evanescence comparisons are, it’s not those that hold me back from giving myself completely to Nine Destinies And A Downfall, it’s Monika’s vocals. As pleasant as her voice can be (both poppy girlish singing and the usual operatic choirs are used), opening track The Last Call alone having a fantastically casual sensuality that is at odds with the epic instrumentation yet works perfectly, I keep hearing annoying little moments that stop me enjoying this album as much as I should. Her inability to sing ‘I’ is one; she has to sing some Americanised ‘ahh’ that sounds completely wrong – ‘laaaight’ instead of light, ‘insaaid’ instead of ‘inside’... call me fussy, but it’s minor faults like this that hold Nine Destinies... back from being a truly brilliant album

The songs themselves follow much the same formula, sounding almost samey at times, but there’s always a little touch to keep them distinct and interesting, from the orchestral flourishes on The Last Call, through the male and female chorus on My Mind’s Eye, to some growls from Morten on Sundown; all serving to remind you that even though there may be plenty of Pop-Metal riffage on the likes of One By One, there are plenty of other things going on, at times getting quite complex. Heck, even on that track the instrumental section before the last, glorious rendition of the chorus is pretty good. And yes, admittedly I did check to make sure that Sundown is by Sirenia and not Soilwork after the bouncy intro riffs, but once you’ve heard the song build up into the harsh-vocalled maelstrom of Gothic Metal glory that it becomes, you’ll be jumping up and down too.

No doubt those that dislike a little Poppiness in their Metal are spitting venom right now, but sometimes it’s nice to relax with something a little pleasant, and Nine Destinies And A Downfall is more than pleasant. Even though Absent Without Leave and The Other Side are more or less the same song give or take some of Morten’s vocals, even though Monika’s pronunciation can be annoying, even though the electronic effects slathered on come close to the ridiculous, I found myself enjoying this album a lot each and every time I played it. Say what you like, songs that are catchy and enjoyable will get on the playlist more than dull songs, however underground or ‘sell-out’-y the bands in question are. I might not find myself digging this out in ten years’ time, but for the moment this is a fun, catchy listen that fans of Gothic Metal in general will enjoy and fans of older Sirenia might come to love, if they give it a chance. From the start to the wonderful ballad Glades Of Summer that finishes the album, there isn’t a bad track in sight, and whilst Sirenia may be closer to the mainstream end of Gothic Metal than ever before, they’re just about holding their own in that dangerous slipstream of a genre. Whether you define this as a guilty pleasure or not, the ‘pleasure’ element can’t be denied, and it’s that which saves the album in the end.

Killing Songs :
The Last Call, One By One, Sundown, The Other Side, Seven Keys And Nine Doors, Glades Of Summer
Goat quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by Sirenia that we have reviewed:
Sirenia - Perils of the Deep Blue reviewed by Jared and quoted 94 / 100
Sirenia - The Enigma of Life reviewed by Goat and quoted 60 / 100
Sirenia - The 13th Floor reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
Sirenia - Sirenian Shores reviewed by Jack and quoted no quote
Sirenia - An Elixir For Existence reviewed by Jack and quoted 90 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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