|The former vocalist, guitar player, main songwriter and text composer of Tristania, Morten Veland, has now laid the basis for a new contribution to the gothic/metal/rock scene. Still sworn to the darker and atmospheric genre, he now resurfaces with his brand new band SIRENIA with one goal in mind: to bring a fresh sound into the underground scene.
SIRENIA plays a mixture of gothic metal and rock with classical influences, as well as black and death metal elements. Their soundscapes have solid basis in the powerful drums and bass that are arranged in a very dynamic and progressive way and supported by powerful rhythm guitars, dressed with atmospheric keyboards and spiced with melancholic violins and 12-string guitars. The different vocals brought to life are many. The band makes of growls, screams, female vocals, (3 different) clean male vocals, choirs, whispers and samples. The songs are very intense and the atmosphere changes frequently. The lyrics are based on reflections on life, death, love, hate, paranoia, anxiety and mental decline in general.
SIRENIA came together in early 2001, when Morten parted ways with his former band due to musical disagreements and personal differences. He was however at this point full of ideas, and more than ready to set them free. He invested a lot in new equipment and spent much time in his home studio composing. As previously mentioned, Morten was the main songwriter for Tristania and an important factor in developing their sound and identity. Now he will take it even further with SIRENIA.
Morten soon began to re-establish contact with his record company, Napalm Records, and his producer, Terje Refsnes of Sound Suite Studios. Studio time was booked for November and December 2001, and for the 6 remaining months prior to the recording, Morten worked on perfecting the songs for the upcoming album. He also recruited band mate Kristian Gundersen (Elusive, New Breed), a close friend and an eminent musician who shares Morten's musical inclinations. Kristian plays guitars and executes the clean male vocals.
In mid November, the band hit Sound Suite Studios to record 9 songs for the debut album, "At Sixes and Sevens". The female vocals on this recording were sung by the fabulous French singer Fabienne Gondamin. She added much expression to the songs with her delightful voice. Furthermore Pete Johansen (TSOTB, The Scarr) came down to contribute the violin parts. A French choir was also hired to perform several parts on the opus, and the classically educated singers did a wonderful job. Likewise, Jan Kenneth Barkved (Elusive) lent SIRENIA his voice to produce additional clean vocals that added to the diversity of this release.
"At sixes and sevens" was embraced by the underground and praised by the media, and SIRENIA hit the road during the spring and summer of 2003. Once the promotional tours came to an end, Morten immediately resumed work on the follow-up. He had been tinkering with new songs since early 2002 and spent the last summer months perfecting the material—a broad range of material that included elements from disparate styles and genres, as well as a wide range of instrumentation and sounds in addition to the basic metal line-up. The extraordinary mix came together to create the dynamic and atmospheric soundscapes for which SIRENIA is known.
At the end of August 2003, Morten and Kristian once again arrived in Sound Suite Studios to record "An Elixir for Existence". The album includes everything from bombastic upbeat metal songs to the more calm atmospheric numbers. All the instruments were performed and programmed by Morten, except the violins played by session-musician Anne Verdot. The French choir participated on this album as well, and this time with even more singers. Towards the end of the recording process Henriette Bordvik arrived to record the female vocal parts, she already joined the band as a steady member early 2002. Morten was determined to give every song its own individual soundscape, structure, and arrangement. He succeeded, as the second masterpiece from SIRENIA not unlike its forerunner, boasts of an impressive array of symphonically arranged epic songs. The mystic melancholic atmosphere herein is immediately recognizable and charms its way throughout.
Liveshows plays an important role for Sirenia, and their main goal is to present the songs as rich and detailled as they sound on the studiorecordings. They use additional samples and sequencing to bring out their vision. There's been a few line-up changes over the last couple of years, and mid 2003 drummer Jonathan Perez (Trail of Tears) joined SIRENIA as the latest reinforcement.