Apr 2013 30

Sibelian - Gothic Opera (1999-2011)Sibelian
Category: Neo-Classical / Industrial Rock
Album: Gothic Opera (1999-2011)
Stars: 2.5
Blurb: Sibelian’s career spanning collection showcases the group’s predilection for stylistic variety, both to the benefit and detriment of the album as a whole.


Throughout the years, gothic, industrial, and even metal artists have flirted with integrating flourishes of classical music into their own sonic repertoire. Combining disparate styles of music can often produce overwhelmingly beautiful and original music, but throw too many different genres in the mix and the results can be baffling. Such is the case with Sibelian and the retrospective effort Gothic Opera (1999-2011), which sees the group incorporating too many elements to ensure a cohesive listening experience.

At first listen, Gothic Opera (1999-2011) is confounding at best. It’s difficult to understand the direction of the group due to the multitude of styles presented. Sibelian’s founder, Stephen Svanholm is a classically trained opera singer, whose voice is as powerful as it is beautiful, but from the opening notes of “Euridice,” it’s apparent that Sibelian intends on presenting a listening experience like no other. The opening track alone features operatic lead and backing vocals, spirited synth leads, and distorted chugging guitars. While portions of the song are brilliant (especially the soaring chorus), the song as a whole feels like too much. Industrial rock embellishments are sprinkled throughout the record, but are especially notable on “Stones (Carn Ingli),” “Red Room,” and “Conjuring the Demons.” These songs, while musically strong, cannot hold their own against Svanholm’s commanding vocals, making them sound dated and fairly disposable. That’s not to say that Gothic Opera (1999-2011) doesn’t feature some pleasant surprises as well. Sprinklings of modernity work well in areas. The minimalist electro bounce of “Dew Upon Your Lips” is an intriguing listen and the jazzy drum and bass combo of “Heartshine” is a fantastic execution of modern music with a classical twist. That being said, where Sibelian’s efforts really shine through is when the band focuses on a more traditional neo-classical sound. “The Return” showcases exotic melodies and music that would fit in nicely alongside any Dead Can Dance track. In stark contrast, “Wish-fulfilling Jewel” is a morose piece focusing on Svanholm’s vocal acrobatics accompanied by strings. “The Sin Eater” perfectly encompasses Sibelian’s strengths and strikes a delicate balance with a worldly sound that doesn’t try to accomplish more than it should.

Without a doubt, Gothic Opera (1999-2011) is one of the more interesting releases in recent memory. The album offers a taste of something for everyone, from hardcore rivetheads to lovers of neo-classical music. In that sense, the album is a success, but the diversity found on the record also hinders it from truly connecting as an entire piece of work. Too many styles are represented and the multiple changes of pace throughout the record have a tendency to distract from the experience as a whole, never allowing for Gothic Opera (1999-2011) to become as powerful as it sounds.
Track list:

  1. Euridice
  2. The Return
  3. Sibelian
  4. The Sin Eater
  5. Wish-fulfilling Jewel
  6. Dew Upon Your Lips
  7. Stones (Carn Ingli)
  8. Heartshine
  9. Red Room
  10. September
  11. The Winged Energy of Delight
  12. Conjuring the Demons (Remastered)

Sibelian Website http://www.sibelian.com
Sibelian MySpace http://www.myspace.com/sibelian
Sibelian Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sibelian/269076193143811
Sibelian Twitter http://www.twitter.com/SibelianMusic
The Fossil Dungeon Website http://www.fossildungeon.com
The Fossil Dungeon Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fossil-Dungeon/130876763651627
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Ryan Brun (RBrun)

Leave a Comment


Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!