An Elixir For Existence is Sirenia’s follow-up to their first album At Sixes and Sevens.
While it doesn’t have as great of a punch as At Sixes and Sevens, it has some beautiful guitar and keyboard work. A lot of the songs on the album have some great melodies but amble along for too long without any sense of direction or a resolution. The choirs play a major role in the album, but they’re some of the weakest Sirenia has ever written. They’re mostly the standard chanting, which gets boring.
Henriette Bordvik who provides the female vocals for this album has a sweet but weak voice. Almost always, the drums and guitar stops when she sings like she would get drowned out otherwise. This dynamic works several times but after a while gets repetitive. I do like how her voice is used. She sings the alluring siren well, but I wish that there was more variation in her singing. I love her part in the beginning of “The Fall Within”. It sounds so different from the rest, and I wished they did more of that.
The clean male vocals provided by Kristian Gundersen have very little presence on An Elixir For Existence. He only appears on three songs (3, 4, & 7) which sucks because he adds to every song he’s in.
“Lithium and A Lover” and “Euphoria” have the best openings with groovy guitar and keyboard melodies. In “Euphoria”, the dynamics between heavy/Veland’s growling and soft/Bordvik’s singing works because though the song softens for Bordvik’s parts, it doesn’t feel like it’s slowing down. “Euphoria” is strong except for the last minute which just feels like filler. Likewise, “The Fall Within” has a strong first half but loses steam as it progresses. “Voices Within” follows the formula laid out by “Lithium and A Lover” and is a good song but just not a noteworthy one. The chorus is one of my favorite parts sung by Bordvik though.
“In My Darkest of Hours” is one of the best songs on the album. It begins heavy and only ramps up the intensity till the end. The piano, choirs, and brass instruments accent the song in tasteful ways. “In My Darkest of Hours” ends somberly with one of Bordvik’s best performances. “Save Me From Myself” is a beautiful, doomy song and has the best violin solo of the album. “Star-crossed” has both the catchy, gothic metal vibe and the dark poeticness that I love hearing from Sirenia. The song almost has a pirate feel, and the choirs sound great here. “Seven Sirens and A Silver Tear” is an instrumental, minimalist piano piece that mesmerizes with its haunting and sorrowful atmosphere.
While this album does have more “I don’t know if this actually makes sense” lyrics, it also has more ones that I love like “my mind is riding the last train down a one-way track to the final station”, “I’m the void that rides your aching mind”, and “Once you were a shining star/I’ve watched you from the fields afar/The brightest of them all/Descend to face its fall”.
Words/Phrases Morten Veland overuses on this album:
- On the wane
- Two songs are named “[Insert word or two] Within”
An Elixir for Existence has some great musical ideas but too often fails to grow them into anything breathtaking like its predecessor At Sixes and Sevens.