Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Darkness' 'Last of Our Kind' - Album Review

The Darkness are the quintessential British rock band. When their debut album Permission to Land hit in 2003, it gave rock music the wake up call that it needed. It was Number 1 in the Official UK Album Charts, and also found world-wide success. It always annoyed me that they considered by some of the snotty-nosed end of the rock press (and the rock scene in general) as a parody band. Sure, they have never taken themselves all that seriously and some of their lyrics are silly, but they contain all the hallmarks of what makes a great rock band. 2005's One Way Ticket to Hell...and Back was actually a better album than their debut in my opinion. The songs there are so gloriously over the top, and the production is so lush. It was not as successful however, and 'only' reached Number 11 in the charts. The band split up soon after as it seemed the Hawkins brothers could no longer stand to be in the same room together, and the rock world mourned the passing of the most fun band to come around for quite some time. Eventually however, they kissed and made up, and in 2011 The Darkness' original line-up returned for a slot at Download Festival and an extensive UK tour. New songs were debuted on this tour, and the album Hot Cakes followed a year later. Hot Cakes remains a good album, but contains a bit of a different sound to the previous two. It is less lush, instead focusing on the rawer end of rock. Frontman Justin Hawkins' trademark falsetto vocals are still present though, and it was an enjoyable album when it came out - but the band were not destined to return to the arenas they vacated. The band seem content with a humbler existence however, and are happy to hit the clubs hard on their tours. Original drummer Ed Graham left the band last year and was replaced by Emily Dolan Davies who laid down the tracks for the band's new fourth album Last of Our Kind. However, in a Spinal Tap-like turn of events, she has since been replaced by Rufus Taylor, who was last seen drumming with his Dad on the recent Queen + Adam Lambert tours. Last of Our Kind is quite similar to Hot Cakes soundwise; emphasising the rawer end of the band's sound. There is something extremely addictive about it though, and some of the melodies really stick with you for a long time. Hitting Number 12 in the charts too shows that there are still plenty of Darkness fans out there.

The album's opening track Barbarian starts out with a spoken introduction, before a muscular riff takes over. They were clearly trying the pack the same punch that Black Shuck did way back in 2003, and it almost manages it. The riff is big and powerful, and Justin's vocal melodies are very catchy while not relying on too many of his falsetto. That rears its head during the chorus though, which is an enjoyable one - backed up by some lead guitar that matches his vocals. The song's guitar solo is also very good, and has a different sound to those usually heard on Darkness songs. Despite sounding a lot like The Cult's She Sells Sanctuary, Open Fire is a really great rock song. The song's clean guitar intro has a really cutting sound that just sticks in your head, and the gritty chorus is one of the most memorable ones on the album. The gang vocal aspect of it makes it very memorable, and it sure to go down well live. The album's title track is probably the song on the album that sounds most like classic Darkness. The verses have a chugging feel to them that mixes acoustic and electric guitars together for an organic sound; but the chorus really takes off with some ridiculously high vocals from Justin, and vocal melodies that just demand to be sung. This moment is probably the most memorable on the whole album, and brings back memories of their first two albums. After three great rockers, the album takes a bit of a dip with the less memorable Roaring Waters. The bluesy riff is very good though, and has a slight ZZ Top-meets-Aerosmith boogie vibe to it, that works surprisingly well, but the song's chorus lets it down. After the rock swagger of the verses (there is plenty of good lead guitar breaks too to be heard), the chorus comes off a little limp with some less interesting melodies. There is still plenty to enjoy here, and I very much doubt it will make you want to reach for the skip button, but it definitely fails to live up to the greatness set by the opening three songs. A better chorus would have really made this song great! Wheels of the Machine does not exactly bring the greatness back either! The Darkness have always written the odd twee song, and this is one of them! It is one of those songs that is caught somewhere in the middle of being a ballad and being a rock song, and does not really function that well as either. That being said, the vocal performance from Justin throughout is very impressive. He shows off his large range very well, which gives the song a classic Darkness feel in places.

Mighty Wings gets things back on track. The song has a really great off-kilter riff that almost strides into the metal territory, and is probably the heaviest the band have ever sounded. The verses are really classic Darkness too, with some excellent Thin Lizzy inspired twin-lead guitar sections that pay homage to Dan Hawkins' favourite band. As you might expect from a great Darkness song, it is extremely over the top! Justin's vocals are once again very diverse; and the chorus is a demonstration on what falsetto can do in the world of rock. The Queenisms are brought right to the fore here, and it really packs a punch after the two weaker songs that came before it. Mudslide follows and it is another solid hard rocking number. It definitely has the feel of the band's debut album, with the Hawkins brothers' guitar tones sounding almost identical to that album. I also like the way that little acoustic sections are thrown in here and there to break up the rocking and keep things interesting. The song steams along at a mean pace, and includes plenty of excellent vocals from Justin. Sarah O'Sarah is a quasi-ballad that does what Wheels of the Machine seemingly failed to do. Sung largely in falsetto, Justin manages to inject a fair amount of emotion into his delivery which gives the song the edge it needs. It mixes acoustic passages with grander sections to make something that is enjoyable to listen to, and certainly pays tribute to Queen a fair amount. Some of the lead guitar towards the end even attempts to recreate Brian May's classic tone. Hammer & Tongs has a riff that reminds me a little of Status Quo, with it's bouncy rhythm, but the verses actually have this strange brit-pop twang to them. It works better than it should, and it leads nicely into a simple but effective chorus with some very memorable vocal sections that stick with you from the first listen. It not one of the most remarkable songs The Darkness have ever come up with, but it sure is catchy! The album's final song Conquerors is a little different from usual, and some respects does not really sound like The Darkness. Bassist Frankie Poullain actually sings the majority of the vocals (supported ably by Justin with the harmonies) and he actually possesses a rather powerful voice himself. The song has a rather epic, anthemic feel to it; with plenty of big acoustic guitar chords, and a chorus that is packed full of swing and feel. Poullain's gritty voice fits the feel of the song, as does the excellent dual guitar solo from the Hawkins brothers towards the end. Overall, Last of Our Kind is another very good album from The Darkness. While their newer material does not reach the heights of their original two albums, they still have managed to put out another enjoyable and extremely memorable rock album. This comes highly recommended for any rock fan.

The album was released on 1st June 2015 via Canary Dwarf Limited/Kobalt Label Services. Below is the band's promotional video for Open Fire.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Pyramaze's 'Disciples of the Sun' - Album Review

It has been quite a while since since the world last saw a Pyramaze album. It was in 2008 that the Danish power metal band released their third album Immortal - which was the result of a short-lived collaboration with the then-retired Matt Barlow (Iced Earth; Ashes of Ares). A reunion with Iced Earth scuppered any long-term relationship between the two parties, and Pyramaze forged on with Urban Breed (Tad Morose; Bloodbound; Serious Black) on vocals. Since the short tour that followed the release of Immortal in 2008, the band have basically been dormant. Snippets of news would appear on Facebook every so often, but in all honesty I thought the band to be dead in the water. This opinion was further cemented when it was announced in 2011 that founding member and lead songwriter Michael Kammeyer, and original bassist Niels Kvist would be leaving the band. Breed never officially announced his departure, but it was also clear that he would not be carrying on with his position either. Leaving just original members keyboardist Jonah Weingarten and drummer Morten Gade Sørensen, with long-term lead guitarist Toke Skjønnemand, Pyramaze did not seem to be a band anymore. The band's long-term producer Jacob Hansen (Invocator; Beyond Twilight; Anubis Gate) joined the band as a rhythm guitarist sometime in 2011, but even this did not seem to spark any real activity. It was not until earlier this year that Disciples of the Sun, Pyramaze's fourth studio album, was officially announced. Completing the band's lineup is unknown singer Terje Harøy, who does a very good job throughout the album. As well as being the band's producer and guitarist, Hansen has now taken over the main songwriting role vacated by Kammeyer, and plays all of the album's bass guitar. He also roped in his old Anubis Gate bandmate Henrik Fevre to write the album's lyrics. As a result, this album has more in common with the spacey progressive metal of Anubis Gate's sound than the melodic power metal of Pyramaze's catalogue. With one former and three current members of that band involved with this album (Sørensen also plays drums with Anubis Gate, and Kim Olesen contributed some extra keyboard parts to Disciples of the Sun) this is hardly surprising. This is still an enjoyable album however, but I do not feel like I am listening to Pyramaze while I am doing so. Those expecting another Legend of the Bone Carver are likely to be very disappointed! That being said, if you listen to this with an open mind, you are likely to find plenty to enjoy.

After the piano-led intro We are the Ocean, that is typical of most prog/power metal albums, the album gets underway with The Battle of Paridas. This song is probably the closest on the album to the band's old sound, mixing melodic keyboard leads with crunching rhythm guitars and double bass drumming to create an exciting metal track. Harøy is probably the least interesting the singer the band have had. He lacks the range of Lance King and the emotional grit of Barlow - but that does not mean he does not have his own merits. His voice is extremely melodic, and sits well with the sweeping orchestral backdrops that surround this song. The instrumental mid-section is excellent too, with Weingarten's fluid keyboard solo and Skjønnemand's guitar leads bringing some class to the proceedings. The album's title track is up next, and is the first song in the band's history to have a video for it (see below). It is a really memorable song with a huge melodic metal chorus and a catchy riff from Skjønnemand and Hansen that sounds like something a melodic death metal band might write. Again, keyboards dominate the sound, and Weingarten lays down some 1980s-inspired melodies as well as some excellent orchestrations. The chorus is the best part of the song however, and shows Harøy's skills as a vocalist well. Back for More is another melodic feast. Lead guitars and keyboards mix together well in the song's intro, and the tune they create is extremely memorable. The verses have quite an interesting feel. Despite the fact the drum patterns are quite frantic, the song still has quite a chilled out vibe to it. This picks up during the chorus however, with a repeat of the song's intro melody and some soaring vocals from Harøy. This is a very easy song to like, and has all the hallmarks of great power metal. Genetic Process mixes the band's historic power metal sound with the spacey sounds of Anubis Gate. The verses are quite down-tempo, with Harøy employing a lower vocal register to good effect, and the rhythm guitars just bubble under the surface. The chorus picks things up a little more, with some standout keyboard playing (again!) and a driving drum beat. Things get heavier towards the end of the song however, with a grinding guitar riff that leads into a melodic solo from Skjønnemand - who really shines on this album. Fearless was the first taste we got of the current Pyramaze album when it was put on Youtube, and it is another enjoyable song. It has some fast metal sections that get the blood pumping, and a chorus that again evokes that Anubis Gate sound. It is less remarkable than what has come before, but the melodies here are still strong enough to make it memorable.

Perfectly Imperfect gets off to a great start with a heavy, groove-based riff with plenty of pinch harmonics that is sure to give the listener a kick. The song is quite varied however, as after this we get an acoustic-led section that Harøy's voice dominates, which gradually builds towards the song's chorus. That groovy riff is back for that, but built upon with soaring orchestrations and melodic piano that cuts through the mix when needed. Skjønnemand again impresses with a slow, melodic solo that has all hallmarks of great progressive metal. Unveil is a heavier song with a really great off-kilter riff that mixes well with some powerful bass guitar lines. Orchestrations also join then fray, to create a really rich sound. The verses are quite moody however, with clean guitars and keyboards the drown everything. There is something of Pagan's Mind about this, with Harøy singing in a different and menacing way. It is another memorable song on an album full of them. Hope Springs Eternal, built around a catchy keyboard riff, is up next. Some of the power metal sounds of the band's earlier work is present here. Sørensen lays down some fast footwork here, and the guitar rhythms are tight and crunchy; taking a back seat to that memorable keyboard riff. The chorus is more atmospheric than melodic however, which takes the song down a slightly different path. Exposure again channels Anubis Gate, with plenty of dense keyboard arrangements. The vocal melodies here are really strong, and throughout the song continue to change and keep things sounding fresh. Musically however this song is somewhat less interesting. This guitars are restricted to keeping the rhythm and never really get a chance to break through and make something interesting. When Black Turns to White follows and opens with an excellent symphonic metal section with bombastic orchestrations and powerful guitar riffing. This is a song that really grows on you after repeated listens, and features some excellent solos from both Skjønnemand and Weingarten as the two play off each other really well in an awesome instrumental mid-section. Not to be outdone, Harøy also puts in a good shift here with some extremely catchy vocal melodies and a good use of his vocal range. For these reasons, this is one of the album's best songs, and one I am sure will be like by many. The albums final song is the short Photograph that almost seems to act as a coda for the album. The melancholy nature of it fits well with the rest of the album, and winds it down after all the fast-paced metal that came before it. Overall Disciples of the Sun is a really enjoyable piece of work from a band that many thought was over. It might be quite different to their earlier work, but if fans take time to really listen to what is going on here I am sure they will still find plenty to enjoy. After being initially sceptical, I was won over!

The album was released on 25th May 2015 via Inner Wound Records. Below is the band's promotional video for Disciples of the Sun.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Ten's 'Isla de Muerta' - Album Review

It was only last November that Ten released their last album. That album, Albion, was a really solid and enjoyable melodic rock album that I listened to a lot throughout the latter stages of 2014 (see my review for it here). I am always wary when bands release albums very close together, especially an band like Ten who's live appearances are extremely sporadic. Sometimes there is enough inspiration to go around. A great recent example is The Quireboys who have released three excellent albums since 2013. Admittedly they had not released an album since 2008 prior to this, so probably had a lot of songs built during this time, but none-the-less they still managed to churn out three great albums in a very short space of time (all while touring heavily I should add!). Plus, it used to be the norm for bands to put out albums quickly. Led Zeppelin's first two albums both came out in 1969, and Black Sabbath did the same thing a year later. All four of those albums are considered rock classics - so it can be done! Ten, it seems, have not been as successful however. While Isla de Muerta is by no means a particularly bad album; it fails to live up to Albion - which was an inspired and very enjoyable piece of work. That is not to say that there are not some very good songs on Isla de Muerta, because there are, but there are also a lot of rather average songs that never really build to anything. Given the speed that this album was released, and the overall sound of the album, I would not be surprised if these songs were recorded at the same time as Albion. The band's line-up is the same on this album as the last (which is quite rare for Ten), and the production quality is almost identical. There are still plenty of redeeming features here though. Band leader and frontman Gary Hughes sounds great as usual. I really like his voice, and there are plenty of times throughout Isla de Muerta where he really shines. He has the knack for a subtly catchy vocal melody, and these are scattered throughout the album - but not as liberally as usual. Keyboardist Darrel Treece-Birch also shines during this album. His keyboard work seems to be much more prominent on this album than the previous one, which helps to elevate some songs above the others. Whether he is taking the lead with a 1980s-inspired riff, or surrounding the song in synthy goodness, he always does something worth hearing. As with all recent Ten albums, the production is lush and sounds excellent. The lack of any big harmony vocals is strange though. I had not noticed this about Ten before, but it suddenly dawned on me that this is something the band does not really employ. Maybe Hughes could consider this in future?

After the keyboard-driven instrumental Buccaneers, we reach the first proper song on the album Dead Men Tell No Tales. Given the album's title, artwork, and this opening duo of songs; I feel that Hughes missed the boat (pun intended) to make a pirate-themed concept album - that would have been awesome! That being said, these two songs really feel like classic Ten, and have a great piratey atmosphere to them with lots of folky keyboard melodies, and strong shanty-like melodies from Hughes. The song builds slowly with keyboards and Steve McKenna's bass guitar being featured heavily the in the verses, before the band's three guitarists come in for the chorus and lay down some excellent lead work. There is a really great neo-classical guitar solo in this song too, which highlights the skills of Dan Rosingana and Steve Grocott. Tell Me What To Do is up next, and this sees the quality from the previous song maintained. It opens well, with an excellent guitar lead and a powerful organ riff in the latter part of the verse that brings Deep Purple or Uriah Heep to mind. It is a very simple song, but possess a very memorable chorus that sees Hughes at his melodic best. Another lengthy and enjoyable guitar solo makes it's presence felt later on in the song, and is the icing on the cake of what is a very good slab of melodic rock. Acquiesce is less memorable. The great keyboard opening gives way to a muscular guitar riff that feels a little forced, and the song's chorus just does not really hit the spot. The pseudo-metal of the verses clashes with the AOR chorus, and as a result the song sounds rather disjointed. Plus, the lyrics are pretty bad; and this is not the only song that suffers from this curse. It would not be a Ten album without a sugary ballad, and This Love is the one for this album. As ballads of this type go, it is not bad. Hughes' vocals contain plenty of emotion, and uses his lower range to his advantage. Treece-Birch lays down some simple piano to back him up and, along with some strings, this sound is very effective. The song's chorus sees the rest of the band join in, and it is quite powerful with some soaring vocal melodies and big power chords. The Dragon and Saint George is one of the most instantly memorable songs on the album. McKenna and drummer Max Yates lay down a great groove in the song's intro, before the song gets going with more big chords and a driving piano melody that recalls early Toto. The song has a real energy to it because of this, and the chorus a real sing-a-long moment. This is the sort of song that Ten do really well, and when Hughes is on song he can churn out plenty of songs like this. It also contains a brilliant guitar solo!

Intensify then comes along and puts a bit of a downer on things. This another song that suffers from having some pretty questionable lyrics - not even David Coverdale at his most leering would consider such things! Musically, the song is not too bad, with more interesting keyboard work with lots of nice synth effects. It is a mid-paced rocker that is nice, but never really gets going. The chorus is not very powerful, and those lyrics just make it a rather frustrating listen. Things get back on track with another double whammy of the instrumental Karnak and the slightly progressive The Valley of the Kings. While the Egyptian/Eastern elements to the songs might be quite generic, they still work well to bring the album back around. There is plenty of great guitar playing across the two songs, with Eastern-influenced leads taking centre stage. Keyboards provide a great, swirling backing to the whole song, while the band's three guitarists lay down a myriad of riffs and solos on top of that backing. Rosingana and Grocott find plenty of chances to shred throughout this song, while long-time rhythm player John Halliwell lays down some excellent, crunchy riffs. The song's chorus is another winner, that sounds a little like fellow British melodic rockers Magnum. Revolution starts out with quite a heavy, grinding riff that seems a little out of character from the rest of the album; but it soon becomes a rather pacey melodic rock tune that does not really fit with the song's opening at all. While the song's verses have a great energy to them, the chorus fails to live up to them. This is one area on the record that could really have done with some huge harmony vocals to make Hughes' voice stand out during the chorus. The chorus fails to make an impact here, and this makes the song one of the weaker ones on the album. Angel of Darkness is better. Sometimes Ten move into that pseudo-metal territory, and this is good example of that. The song's riff is very memorable and the verses steam along with a good pace, and an excellent keyboard lead that sits just underneath Hughes' vocals. It also contains a really speedy metal solo that fits in with the song's vibe perfectly. While the song is no classic, it rocks hard, and that's what this album needed! The album's last song, The Last Pretender is another solid melodic rock song that ensures the album ends well. Again, the Magnum similarities are quite prevalent here, and it makes for a good mid-paced end to the album. The chorus could have done with being a little bigger though, if the band really wanted to end on a bang. Overall, Isla de Muerta is not a bad album. As you can see, there are plenty of enjoyable moments; but it is also let down in places by bad lyrics and uninspired songwriting. Ten fans, and fans of melodic rock in general, are likely to find things here to like - but beyond that I cannot see this album making much of an impact.

The album was released on 18th May 2015 via Rocktopia Records. Below is the band's promotional lyric video for Tell Me What To Do.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Sirenia's 'The Seventh Life Path' - Album Review

While Nightwish's Endless Forms Most Beautiful will dominate symphonic metal in 2015 - and quite rightly so, it's fantastic! - Sirenia have done their best to make their voices heard amongst the rabble! The Seventh Life Path is (appropriately) Sirenia's seventh album, and one that follows on well from the excellent Perils of the Deep Blue from 2013. Band leader Morten Veland has always crafted a very distinguishable sound for Sirenia, and this album is no different. Cutting his teeth with gothic metal legends Tristania, Veland has established himself as a leading light in that genre. Sirenia has been his focus since forming the band in 2001 and he has poured all of himself into the band's seven albums. Despite having assembled a band for live performances, in the studio Veland is a one-man band. He has written and produced everything the band has ever recorded, and he performs all of the instruments in the studio. Sirenia is clearly a labour of love for Veland, but it also demonstrates what a great musician he is. Bands like Sirenia do not have the same budget or resources as Nightwish, so are never going to be able to compete sonically. This does not stop Veland from trying though, and he has done a great job again here. The Seventh Life Path is a huge sounding record. From the walls of gothic choirs, to the slabs of powerful metal guitars - this album has it all. Vocally, this album could be the band's strongest yet. Frontwoman Ailyn, now on her fourth album with the band, delivers her best performance yet. She seemed to really perfect her craft on the band's last album, but this time she seems to have improved even more. She is becoming ever more comfortable in the role, and her angelic voice is a good contrast to the gothic metal going on around her. Veland also contributes harsh vocals as usual. The 'beauty and the beast' vocal combination has been done to death now, but it still excites when done well. These two have always worked well together, and this album is no exception. Production-wise, this album sounds pretty good. The programmed drums still annoy me somewhat (why hire a great drummer for live shows and not use him on record?), and sometimes the mix is a little muddy - but mostly this album sounds huge. The harshness from the edges of the last album are gone, which makes more a much cleaner and easier listen

After the rather generic orchestral intro track Seti, the album gets underway with the blistering Serpent. The song builds from the preceding orchestral track, and explodes into a powerful gothic riff that Ailyn sings delicately over the top of. She has never had the most powerful of voices, but her unique tone makes her a great singer for Sirenia. The contrast between her thin voice and the powerful musical backing is always a good one. Veland also joins in during the choruses with his strong harsh vocals. There are stronger vocalists out there, but he has a good snarl to his voice that makes him enjoyable to listen to. This song is rather standard fare for Sirenia, but does feature a nice guitar solo mid way through - something which is not used a whole lot in their music. The symphonic elements are in the background here too, with the big guitar riffs leading the way. Once My Light was the song released as a video prior to the album's release, and it is clear to see why. It is a very vocally-focused song, and showcases what Ailyn can do with her voice. The verses really give her space to breathe, with a simple drum beat and bass-lead synths accompanying her. The guitars tend to grind away in the background here, without ever jumping out with a memorable lead or riff. The orchestral-lead mid-section is also good, with some great orchestral arrangements and drumming. There is a melodic, slow guitar solo later on however, giving the guitars a rare chance to shine on this song. Elixir features clean vocals from Joakim Næs, a regular Sirenia collaborator, and he does a good job here as usual. This is one song however that could have done with some more attention at the mixing stage. Veland's harsh vocals really are lost in the mush of guitars and as a result do not have the power that they should. Næs and Veland handle all of the vocals on this song (apart from a short section from Ailyn towards the end), which gives the song a cool, old-school gothic vibe, but the mushy production makes this song hard to listen to. Sons of the North is a big improvement, and could be the best song on the album. The song's main riff is a powerful one, backed up by some dramatic strings and a solid drum groove. All the stops have been pulled out here, and this song shows what Veland can do when he is at his best. He handles the verses here, and Ailyn takes the lead on the choruses which have a real dreamy quality to them after the metal assault of the rest of the song. There is a section of this song that reminds me quite a lot of Dimmu Borgir with some excellent piano work and some creepy spoken word parts that lead into a slow, heavy section with Veland's powerful vocals and a wall of gothic strings.

Earendel is another enjoyable track. After the longer, heavier Sons of the North, this seems a little lighter. The song's main riff is pretty catchy, with plenty of strings and choral parts to back it up. Despite the fact Veland again sings the verses, they still have a very melodic quality. Keyboards makes themselves heard throughout, which makes a break from the thick, distorted guitars; and the chorus is at a much slower pace which really highlights Ailyn's vocals. There is a lovely folky section too, with playful orchestrations and Ailyn's vocals taking centre stage. This part reminds me a little of Leaves' Eyes. There is a good, fast guitar solo here too. Concealed Disdain is a song that really focuses on the orchestral side of the band's sound. A very basic guitar riff is totally swamped by strings in the song's intro, and the huge gothic choirs fill the gaps between the vocals. It is another good song that highlights the best of the band's sound. Ailyn uses lots of different vocal styles throughout too. There is one section where she unleashes some high notes that are nearly operatic in their execution - something that fits well with the orchestral nature of the song. After the rather average Insania, which flies by without ever really making an impact, we reach Contemptuous Quietus. This is quite a slow-burning epic metal song, with lots of snaking, groovy riffs and melodic vocals from Ailyn. There is a lot going on throughout this song, and sees every element of the band's sound emphasised at some point or another. While Ailyn sings the majority of the song, Veland takes the lead towards the end for a heavy section that also sees lots of excellent, powerful choirs used. The Silver Eye is another epic, heavy song that really packs a punch. The opening section has a real black metal vibe with some fast blast beat drumming and Veland's raspy vocals. The whole song has a slightly discordant feel to it, with lots of strange guitar and eerie strings. The chorus is possibly the strongest on the whole album however with a really excellent performance from Ailyn. It is a song that takes quite a few listens to really appreciate, but when you do it really stands out. The album's final song is the ballad Tragedienne - which actually starts out sounding a little like Karnataka's Forbidden Dreams - which works well to close the album after what has mostly been a fairly heavy experience. The song is piano driven, but does get a little heavier occasionally when guitar and drums come in for effect. Ailyn sounds fantastic here, and leaves you with a memory of her lovely voice long after the album is over. Despite a couple of filler songs, and a dodgy mix in places, The Seventh Life Path is another enjoyable album from Sirenia. Veland does what he does well, and this is no different. If you listen to this expecting a modern Sirenia album, then you will not be disappointed.

The album was released on 11th May 2015 via Napalm Records. Below is the band's promotional video for Once My Light.