The Enigma of Life

01. The End Of It All
02. Fallen Angel
03. All My Dreams
04. This Darkness
05. The Twilight In Your Eyes
06. Winter Land
07. A Seaside Serenade
08. Darkened Days To Come
09. Coming Down
10. This Lonely Lake
11. Fading Star
12. The Enigma Of Life
13. Oscura Realidad (bonus track)
14. The Enigma Of Life (acoustic version; bonus track)

Ailyn - Vocals
Morten Veland - Clean/Harsh Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Drums, Keyboards, Programming

At Sixes and Sevens (2002)
An Elixir for Existence (2004)
Nine Destinies and a Downfall (2007)
The 13th Floor (2009)

Sessions musicians: Stephanie Valentin - Violins
The Sirenian Choir: Damien Surian, Mathieu Landry, Emmanuelle ZOldan, Sandrine Gouttebel, Emilie

"The Enigma Of Life" was written, composed and arranged by Morten Veland
Produced, mixed and engineered by Morten Veland
Pre-Produced in Audio Avenue Studios (Tau, N)
Mastered by Mika Jussila, FInnvox.
A+R: Jaap Wagemaker

Released 21/1-2011
Reviewed 10/2-2011

nuclear blast

When I wrote the Swedish review I had just some idea of how much people hated this album for some reason, I glanced through many reviews calling it banal, bad and whatever else, stating that we should stay away from it and so on and so forth. One reviewer say it was a bad copy of Nine Destinies and a Downfall which was a bad copy of the band’s prior stuff to begin with, which is the worst kind of rubbish I have ever heard, it is like saying that Endstille is good which we all know they are not. Nine Destinies and a Downfall is a very good album, a very good one really and it has this fantastic song My Mind’s Eye which I really love and I do not care in any way what any other guy says.

How come so many get so emotional when a band evolves or changes, after all it is up to them, the fans are there or they are not and if the band want to change they risk loosing their fans, it is nothing to get upset about. I have read a lot of upset things about Sirenia when doing my research for this review and to be honest, I cannot understand any of it. Why should a band or an artist remain in the same kind of small box all the time, they will become AC/DC or Iron Maiden or any other pointless useless band that release the same album over and over and over and over again, how funny is that, I’d rather see a band come up with one fantastic album and then all rubbish, it is much better than fifteen albums that is alright and nothing more.

Sirenia is musically symphonic gothic metal with some elements of the extreme but not as much as before and maybe that is what ticks some people off, kind of like Dimmu Borgir who are clearly much better now than before. It is female fronted metal with catchy choruses and choirs, with flowing melodies, quite fast paced with songs that looks to hook you immediately. The production is clean, a little so-so but it works rather well in conjunction with what is offered musically.

I do not hate this album and I think that Morten Veland did right to move in this direction and if that is what he wanted then he was clearly right and anyone who says differently is just as stupid as what he/she just said. The artist is always right, we as an audience do not necessarily agree with what they do, but they are doing it and we don’t have to listen if we don’t like it. I like The Enigma of Life, I like it a lot as it is a really good album with great songs, lovely melodies and it is catchy and the vocals are just great, there are many small things that add up into a great album.

I truly hope this album reaches fantastic sales, being sold in billions all over the world being a fantastically commercial success which is what every musician is dreaming about and the one who says otherwise is not completely truthful, who wouldn’t want to sell billions of records and become rich and never has to work again and is then free to do whatever that person wants for the rest of his or her life. And I don’t think metal fans should talk about individuality or commercialism as it is the least individual genre out there, look at how they all dress and it is also a commercial genre even if the fans don’t want to admit that.

Well, that was a bit much about stupid people who just are stupid and soulless, metalheads (most of them) are just drones and that’s a fact of life and I cannot change that by writing about it so back to the album. The Enigma of Life has some really great songs with real hit potential like the opener The End of it All which is not only a great opener, it is a great song. Track eight, Darkened Days to Come is another one of these great songs that I enjoy listening to and mentioned along with these should be the ending title track (unless you count bonus tracks that seem to be on some releases) which ends the record in just the right way, leaving you wanting to play it again, which I did today, five times in a row and it never got boring or banal or bad or whatever, it was great all the time.

Apparently it does not appeal to everyone so I will only give one recommendation to all of you thinking about it, if you know that you are stupid you might do best to avoid, if you are open-minded and wise you ought to give this album a chance, it really deserves it.

In the end though I do not believe the enigma of life is being answered with this album, but for me it does not matter as I like the enigma and what I also like is this fantastic album, it does not matter if they sold their soul to sell more albums if the result is this good and what also does not matter is if every other reviewer hates this album because I am quite used to thinking differently and to be honest no matter what anyone else says, The Enigma of Life kicks ass!


Label - Nuclear Blast
Three similar bands - Tristania/NIghtwish/Epica
Recensent: Daniel Källmalm