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Requiem

Morten Veland (Tristania/Sirenia)

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There are many great bands in the gothic metal genre, but I want to talk about an individual. 

Any Morten Veland fans out there? He was instrumental (pardon the pun) in creating Norwegian band Tristania's two masterpieces back in the late 90s 'Widow's Weeds' and 'Beyond the Veil', before leaving to start his own more or less solo career with Sirenia. 

Sirenia just keep on pumping out great gothic/symphonic metal albums, but in the last few years Morten has stepped beyond the very good and into the great. I reckon it all started with 'Perils of the Deep Blue' which was just next level when it came to the songs, as well as the production which suddenly got fatter with more crunch and atmosphere. After some good but not brilliant albums it was like he finally decided to knuckle down and write the songs of his life. 

The last three albums have all reflected this commitment to quality. Check out a song from the most recent album 'Dim Days of Dolor' which is arguably Morten's greatest work. As usual for Sirenia he does the growled vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, programming, production and engineering. 'Dim Days of Dolor' is also the first album with new French vocalist Emmanuelle Zoldan who is just phenomenal (with that French accent). 

 

Requiem's Ranking of Morten Veland's Albums from Least Best to Best Best

10. Sirenia - 'The Enigma of Life' (2011)

Vocals by Ailyn. This is ultimately a disappointing album considering when it was released, and sounds like Morten is quite flat and dried up creatively. Ailyn is a saving grace, and while the first two tracks are pretty good, this is a lame duck album unfortunately. Morten really is a hit and miss songwriter and producer when you compare this album with 'Perils' that would come out two years later. 

9. Sirenia - 'Nine Destinies and a Downfall' (2007)

Vocals by Monika Pedersen. I do enjoy this album but it's a fairly workmanlike approach from Morten here - almost a little paint-by-numbers. The track 'Seven Keys and Nine Doors' is a wonderful highlight hidden away at track 7. It's a good album but ultimately lacks a little depth. Vocals are fine but unexciting. 

8. Sirenia - 'The Seventh Life Path' (2015)

Vocals by Ailyn. This should have been a classic coming off the back of the brilliant 'Perils' album, but the songs are just too long and overinflated. Most tracks run between 6 and 9 minutes, and while this works on 'Perils' it just doesn't work here for some reason. Ultimately, there aren't the riffs to sustain this approach and it's quite emotionless despite being really well produced. The album really lags and sometimes by about minute 6 or 7 in some tracks I'm completely lost and so is Morten...

7. Sirenia - 'An Elixir for Existence' (2004)

Vocals by Henriette Bordvik. A great follow-up from the debut, there's a big jump from the last entry on my list to this one. Great opening track and solid songs throughout. Vocals are cool but not life changing. This has a brilliant album cover by the way. 

6. Sirenia - 'At Sixes and Sevens' (2002)

Vocals by Fabienne Gondamin. The mighty debut, this is a brilliant album although it has a little more filler than some of the kinder fans seem to remember. There's no denying how great it is though, and when 'Meridian' kicks in it totally takes me back to the good old days. It was a great album to put out after parting ways with Tristania and it just smashed what they were doing at the time. 

5. Sirenia - 'The 13th Floor' (2009)

Vocals by Ailyn. This is a really cool album that seems to have slipped under a lot of radars in the music press. The songs are catchy, Ailyn sounds fantastic and the vibe is really good. Tracks like 'The Mind Maelstrom' are world class. 

4. Sirenia - 'Dim Days of Dolor' (2016) 

Vocals by Emmanuelle Zoldan. Seriously this is a 9/10 album. It looks cheap at number four but that's only because the three ahead of it are landmark albums. The production is phat - everything sounds amazing. It's such a pleasure to listen to. Great songwriting - Morten trimmed at least a minute off the songs compared with the laborious 'Seventh Life Path' and the result is tight and oh so sweet. All killer, no filler. The new singer is brilliant too. 

3. Sirenia- 'Perils of the Deep Blue' (2013)

Vocals by Ailyn. This came out of nowhere after the misfire of 'The Enigma of Life'. The two albums are chalk and cheese. I couldn't believe how deep (no pun intended) and emotional these songs were when I first heard them. For the first time since I've been listening to this band (over ten years at the time) I was getting the hairs standing up on the back of my neck. The detail and effort that went into the songwriting and performance was 300% over 'The Enigma of Life'. Maybe Morten knew he needed to kick his own arse? The long songs work perfectly and there was a new found motivation and inspiration at work here. One of my favourite albums. 

2. Tristiania - 'Beyond the Veil' (1999)

Vocals by Vibeke Stein. It's a little unfair including these albums in this list, but the thread deals with both projects so here they are. The second Tristania album is a masterpiece and moment in time. The songwriting was a bit more upbeat and rocking, but all the ingredients of perfect 90s gothic metal are here: violin, atmosphere and great songwriting. Chills, chills, chills. 

1. Tristania - 'Widow's Weeds' (1998)

Vocals by Vibeke Stein. The debut contains that dash of magic that can only come from an exciting, youthful and momentous album of untouchable gothic metal. Put it in my coffin with me. 

 

Here's 'Goddess of the Sea'. Any other Morten fans out there? I accept that this thread could be a slow burn but I'm willing to wait hahaha.

 

 

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Hey @Earendel I see you’re a Sirenia fan and made an interesting comment on the new singer - I thought it would be cool to discuss it all in this thread.

In particular, of the last three albums I love ‘Dim Days of Dolor’ and ‘Perils of the Deep Blue’ and can’t really get into ‘The Seventh Life Path’ on the same level. Allow me to explain.

I think Emmanuelle sounds amazing and even though not fully operatic, still more operatic than Ailyn. I don’t want Morten to go too far down the opera path though. I just think the choruses and songwriting work so much better on ‘Dim’ than ‘Seventh Life Path’ which I found too overblown and unfocused. The tracks on ‘Seventh’ all clock in between 6-9 minutes and they all feel like they should have ended around 5. I think Morten might have recognised this too because the tracks on ‘Dim’ are all 3-5 pretty much.

So I actually really love ‘Dim’ and ‘Perils’ but am actually a little disappointed with ‘Seventh’. The songwriting focus on ‘Dim’ is so perfect. Check out the chorus on ‘Cloud Nine’ - so good! 

The production of these albums is also incredible. The crunch and heaviness, yet epic feel, is perfect.

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11 hours ago, Requiem said:

Hey @Earendel I see you’re a Sirenia fan and made an interesting comment on the new singer - I thought it would be cool to discuss it all in this thread.

In particular, of the last three albums I love ‘Dim Days of Dolor’ and ‘Perils of the Deep Blue’ and can’t really get into ‘The Seventh Life Path’ on the same level. Allow me to explain.

I think Emmanuelle sounds amazing and even though not fully operatic, still more operatic than Ailyn. I don’t want Morten to go too far down the opera path though. I just think the choruses and songwriting work so much better on ‘Dim’ than ‘Seventh Life Path’ which I found too overblown and unfocused. The tracks on ‘Seventh’ all clock in between 6-9 minutes and they all feel like they should have ended around 5. I think Morten might have recognised this too because the tracks on ‘Dim’ are all 3-5 pretty much.

So I actually really love ‘Dim’ and ‘Perils’ but am actually a little disappointed with ‘Seventh’. The songwriting focus on ‘Dim’ is so perfect. Check out the chorus on ‘Cloud Nine’ - so good! 

The production of these albums is also incredible. The crunch and heaviness, yet epic feel, is perfect.

I think Perils of The Deep Blue and The Seventh Life Path are the best albums recorded with Ailyn :) Especially Perils of The Deep Blue. This album is truly masterpiece. Compositions although they are long aren't bored (the longest is The Funeral March. It's over 12 minutes!) Lyrics are also really good. When I listen to Perils of The Deep Blue I get the impression that I sail with the sirens through the ocean of mysteries of life. I agree with you. Although I really like The Seventh Life Path, this album unfortunately has some disadvantages. I feel the same about compositions. They should be 4-5 minutes. On ,,Perils" there were long songs so for the balance songs on ,,The Seventh" as  I said should be 4-5 minutes. Also some of lyrics (I mean Once My Light, Tragedienne, Insania and Contemptuous Quietus) aren't too good to not say weak. But the biggest advantage of both albums is Ailyn voice. She sound like true siren! Ailyn has lyrical soprano voice. She was learning classical singing. I have impression that on The 13th Floor and The Enigma of Life she could not properly use her beautiful voice. On Dim Days of Dolor I ran out of Emma's opera singing. (I'm opera freak so I think this is the cause) A little more operatic singing for me will be great on Dim Days of Dolor and next album :) I like the fact that DDoD refers to two firsts Sirenia albums. You're right lyrics on ,,Dim Days" are perfect. My favourite songs from Dim Days of Dolor are Cloud Nine, Veil of Winter, Playing With Fire and Treasure and Treason. I hope you understand what I wanted to say because I slept only 2 hours today and I cannot formulate correct statement :???: 

Btw what do you think about Ailyn and Emmanuelle ,,My Lost Lenore" covers :D? 

 

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12 hours ago, Earendel said:

I think Perils of The Deep Blue and The Seventh Life Path are the best albums recorded with Ailyn :) Especially Perils of The Deep Blue. This album is truly masterpiece. Compositions although they are long aren't bored (the longest is The Funeral March. It's over 12 minutes!) Lyrics are also really good. When I listen to Perils of The Deep Blue I get the impression that I sail with the sirens through the ocean of mysteries of life. I agree with you. Although I really like The Seventh Life Path, this album unfortunately has some disadvantages. I feel the same about compositions. They should be 4-5 minutes. On ,,Perils" there were long songs so for the balance songs on ,,The Seventh" as  I said should be 4-5 minutes. Also some of lyrics (I mean Once My Light, Tragedienne, Insania and Contemptuous Quietus) aren't too good to not say weak. But the biggest advantage of both albums is Ailyn voice. She sound like true siren! Ailyn has lyrical soprano voice. She was learning classical singing. I have impression that on The 13th Floor and The Enigma of Life she could not properly use her beautiful voice. On Dim Days of Dolor I ran out of Emma's opera singing. (I'm opera freak so I think this is the cause) A little more operatic singing for me will be great on Dim Days of Dolor and next album :) I like the fact that DDoD refers to two firsts Sirenia albums. You're right lyrics on ,,Dim Days" are perfect. My favourite songs from Dim Days of Dolor are Cloud Nine, Veil of Winter, Playing With Fire and Treasure and Treason. I hope you understand what I wanted to say because I slept only 2 hours today and I cannot formulate correct statement :???: 

Btw what do you think about Ailyn and Emmanuelle ,,My Lost Lenore" covers :D? 

 

Wow, I hadn’t realised these two videos existed. I’m actually away from home without wifi so I dare not tempt the data gods by watching YouTube, but I’ll definitley check these out in a day or two when I get back into wifi land.

Your analysis of recent albums is ring-a-ding-ding (highly pleasing). For some reason the long songs on ‘Perils’ work really well and don’t feel laboured at all. ‘The Funeral March’ is a great example. That’s a brilliant song. God they’re all fantastic in that album. It’s like everything came together with ‘Perils’ - songwriting, production, quality control. 

I love everything the band has done except for ‘The Enigma of Life’ which feels really uninspired. I think that’s why ‘Perils’ blew me away, it sort of came out of nowhere. 

When I get back to wifi land I’m going to rank all the Morten Veland albums (and have my MacBook rather than this silly phone to tap into!) Look forward to it ;) 

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Ok @Earendel I finally watched those two clips. Thanks for posting them! 

Firstly, gosh it's good to hear that old classic track again. Reminds me how great 'Widow's Weeds' is. 

Secondly, Sirenia live sounds like a pretty frustrating proposition with all those backing tracks. I've made my view clear on backing tracks in a thread in the 'Deep and Meaningful' forum. Basically, I'm against them in most instances. For a band like Sirenia which has keyboards throughout all of their songs, I really think they should invest in a keyboard player for live shows. It would make it so much more authentic. Same goes with Katatonia and Paradise Lost. Obviously this would mean paying another person, and it's not my money so I shouldn't complain. There's no denying it would be better though. It's getting to the point where we have three instrumentalists playing along with a recording of the song (basically) and that ain't much fun. There's no atmosphere when keyboards and bass are backing tracks. 

Anyway, on to the actual point of your post. I think I prefer Ailyn's version. She really nails it. Of course the two contexts are very different. Ailyn was singing on a huge stage with a good sound recording, Emmanuelle was basically on a tiny stage with a bunch of phones in her face. Kind of an awkward gig really. I know I'd much rather see the band in the small setting though for intimacy. Still, they both sounded good. Emmanuelle definitely has more of an opera vibe. 

Of course, my favourite version is the 1998 Vibeke version ;)

 

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I agree with you! Sirenia should  invest in a keyboard player for live shows. They sound live would be definitely more authentic. on Tbh I love both versions but original versiby Vibeke is the best. By the way I still miss Vibeke in Tristania and I hope she'll come back one day.  Your top 10 is really nice! I love first and second place on your list. Widow's Weeds and Beyond The Veil are magical albums. Truly masterpieces.

My top 8 (I can't choose 10) :

8 Sirenia - The Seventh Life Path

7 Sirenia - Dim Days of Dolor

6 Mortemia - Misere Mortem

5 Sirenia - Perils of the Deep Blue

4 Sirenia - An Elixir For Existance

3 Sirenia - At Sixes and Sevens

2 Tristania - Beyond The Veil

1 Tristania - Widow's Weeds

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On 09/11/2017 at 4:17 AM, Earendel said:

I agree with you! Sirenia should  invest in a keyboard player for live shows. They sound live would be definitely more authentic. on Tbh I love both versions but original versiby Vibeke is the best. By the way I still miss Vibeke in Tristania and I hope she'll come back one day.  Your top 10 is really nice! I love first and second place on your list. Widow's Weeds and Beyond The Veil are magical albums. Truly masterpieces.

My top 8 (I can't choose 10) :

8 Sirenia - The Seventh Life Path

7 Sirenia - Dim Days of Dolor

6 Mortemia - Misere Mortem

5 Sirenia - Perils of the Deep Blue

4 Sirenia - An Elixir For Existance

3 Sirenia - At Sixes and Sevens

2 Tristania - Beyond The Veil

1 Tristania - Widow's Weeds

What the hell is Mortemia? I'll have to check it out. Funny if Morten's doing a solo album considering Sirenia is basically a solo project in the studio. 

Great list. God I love these releases.  

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1 hour ago, Requiem said:

What the hell is Mortemia? I'll have to check it out. Funny if Morten's doing a solo album considering Sirenia is basically a solo project in the studio. 

Great list. God I love these releases.  

Mortemia is Morten's solo project :D 

 

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On 19/11/2017 at 11:07 PM, Earendel said:

Mortemia is Morten's solo project :D 

 

This sounds pretty cool, but apart from the vocals it sounds pretty much like Sirenia. Still, amazing that I didn't know of its existence. Just goes to show. I guess I'll have to buy it now to ensure that I have all his stuff. 

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I decided to put a few links to recordings of Tristania's concerts from Vibeke here. There are not many recordings with good quality. Beautiful concert video Widow's Tour has definitely the best quality.

There are only two songs on this recording from Hamburg, but the quality is also good

On this recording from Mexico unfortunately the quality of sound and video is really low but there are songs from Beyond The Veil. Not only from Widow's Weeds.

 

Just now, Earendel said:

I decided to put a few links to recordings of Tristania's concerts from Vibeke here. There are not many recordings with good quality. Beautiful concert video Widow's Tour has definitely the best quality.

There are only two songs on this recording from Hamburg, but the quality is also good

On this recording from Mexico unfortunately the quality of sound and video is really low but there are songs from Beyond The Veil. Not only from Widow's Weeds.

 

I almost forgot about these concerts! There is only sound on the following recordings. There is no video. Somehow the sound is a bit better than on the recording from a concert from Mexico. 

 

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