AFM Records [Release date 09.09.16]
European supergroup Serious Black return with their sophomore release “Mirrorworld” less than 2 years after debut “As Daylight Breaks” hit the racks.
The backbone of vocalist Urban breed, Dominik Sebastian (guitars), bassist Mario Lochert and keyboardist Jan Vacik remains intact but some tweaking has occurred with Roland Grapow and Thomen Stauch being replaced by Firewind guitarist Bob Katsionis and long-time Rhapsody of Fire drummer Alex Holzwarth respectively…and these changes seem to have worked wonders.
The short atmospheric instrumental Breaking The Surface opens proceedings and leads into the catchy As Long As I’m Alive which comes over as a cross between Helloween/Gamma Ray and classic period Dio. Castor Skies, presumably about the star and not the sugar, has a distinctive Kamelot/Stratovarius feel with a good use of keyboards and again a memorable melody.
Ballad Heartbroken Soul offers a change of pace before the metal of You’re Not Alone which somehow brings Uriah Heep to mind thanks to the Hammond organ. The title track is classy melodic hard rock and State Of My Despair brings the keyboards to the fore. Closer The Unborn Never Die is another faultless number featuring an effective quiet interlude.
The standard release of “Mirrorworld” is however a short album consisting of the intro piece and 8 tracks all clocking in at 5 minutes or less…but the limited edition adds a whopping 5 extra tracks plus 2 acoustic re-workings…no choice really! Unfortunately the review copy is only the standard version so I’m hoping that the high standard has been maintained…
“Mirrorworld” is such a massive improvement over “As Daylight Breaks” and is just what I hoped the band would release in the future when reviewing the debut. Nice! ****½
Review by Phil Berisford
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