Release DetailsLABEL Napalm Records
RELEASED ON 2/23/2004
An Elixir For Existence
posted on 1/2004 By:
No matter how seriously a person may take music, they almost without fail will have a weakness for a certain type of music that doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously at all. Most of the pretentious post rocker types also enjoy whiney emo, which unarguably has no real value at all. Even the more highbrow metal heads can generally get into pure, simplistic, and crushing music. I don’t feel as though I take music too seriously, but sometimes I can get a bit snobby about it. For me, though, well-done gothic rock/metal is always a pleasant treat no matter how goofy the imagery and how flimsy it is when looked at from an artistic perspective.
Before Morten Veland’s departure, Tristania was easily my favorite among Napalm Record's “breast bands,” with their industrialized drumming, slightly dark wave leanings, and gorgeous melodies without sacrificing heaviness. After Beyond the Veil, Tristania seemed to go downhill. World of Glass’ songwriting was far less captivating than that on any of the previous albums and it became apparent that Morten Veland was the driving force behind the band. Sirenia didn’t break any new ground, of course; they’re just a continuation from where Beyond the Veil left off. But that’s not a bad thing at all. I’d imagine Tristania ceased to be Veland’s own brainchild and he didn’t like that, so he started something else in the exact vein that he wanted. And it’s in that vein that he’s at his best.
This second outing from Sirenia, An Elixir for Existence, really doesn’t offer too many surprises, but as guilty pleasures such as this generally go, that’s a good thing. The only slight change is the implementation of a bit more in the way of electronics. While most songs are fully metal oriented with the occasional techno-like keyboard part thrown in or with just an electronic based intro, the song “Save Me From Myself” is pretty close to full on trip hop, much like what The 3rd and The Mortal have done since leaving the metal scene. Otherwise, the album is exactly as I expected if a bit heavier than their previous record, and additional heaviness is always good when it fits well with melodies as well-written as these.
It’s probably only based on my weakness for this style that I truly have no complaints about An Elixir for Existence. As far as I can see, though, every song is memorable, the production is top notch and creates exactly the appropriate atmosphere, and all performances are just as they should be. Occasionally the operatic parts start to cross the line into somewhat overbearing, but that’s only very occasionally and they’re all brief enough to do no real harm.
It’s terribly early for me to make any guesses as to what will be on my list of bests for 2004, but if this record proves itself to have as much staying power as it has initial appeal, it’ll likely make the list, though I’d imagine if this tops my list we’ll be in store for a disappointing year. If you’re not into this style, stay back, it’s nothing new at all, but if you do like the style, this is probably the best of it you’ll find.
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