Sirenia : Perils of the Deep Blue

373895The day after I pre-ordered Sirenia’s Perils of the Deep Blue through a once in a life-time special offer from Nuclear Blast, the album shows up on CackBlabbath’s coveted review list and I snag it for free. I snag it for free, that is, after I paid for a copy. That’s the story of my life. But screw it, it’s a great album and I’m glad to contribute to Sirenia’s fortunes.

The story goes that Morten Veland was perusing the Internet, looking at who know what kind of sites, when he happened upon the artwork of Anne Stokes. There he saw the work that would ultimately become the cover of Sirenia’s sixth studio album and was so enthralled by its magnificence that it even inspired the album title. Now, you may not know the name Anne Stokes, but you probably know her work—it has graced everything from DnD manuals to iPhone skins to Zippo lighters. So whether you’re geeking out in your mother’s basement or headbanging at a metal concert, you’ve probably seen, worn or brandished her artwork.

Back to the album. Number six in the Sirenia catalogue. Classic symphonic metal with glorious vocals by Ailyn (born Pilar Giménez García, if you must know), supremely orchestrated choral accents and appropriately dour lyrical themes. All in all a great album, marking Sirenia’s return to form after the critically disappointing Enigma of Life—though most fans will tell you that Enigma wasn’t really that awful, certainly no St. Anger.

There are some real treats on Perils of the Deep Blue. For one, several of the songs are in Norwegian and at least one, “Ditt Endelikt,” is in Norwegian and Spanish—sounds like Portuguese to me, btw, but I’m American so I’m pretty much clueless when it comes to geography and languages. Let’s recap: symphonic metal, choirs, languages that aren’t English, cool artwork—adds up to awesome to me. What else? High marks on production value. Someone dropped some serious dollars in the studio to crank this baby out, but that’s kind of the price to play in symphonic metal—I mean, no one ever hears about garage symphonic metal (note to self: pitch ‘garage symphonic metal’ to Nuclear Blast; make a fortune; retire to Sweden).

The other story goes that in preparation for the recording, Ailyn joined a classic choir in Norway to explore some new vocal techniques. Can you imagine being on that choir? I mean, first imagine you could sing well enough to be on the choir and then imagine standing next to Ailyn belting out Messe de Requiem. Being a nerd has never been so good.

The album. Yes, great album. Buy it. A must for any Sirenia fan, a need to have for any symphonic metal head, a nice to have for any geek/nerd/gang member trying to musically coordinate with their Zippo.