Napalm Records [Release date 31.01.20]
Austrian symphonic metal band Serenity are back and I seemed to have missed 2017′s ‘Lionheart’, having enjoyed the previous year’s ‘Codex Atlanticus’. That’s the trouble sometimes with so many bands around it is hard to keep track on them.
The album’s subject matter is inspired by the life of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, who amongst his achievements laid the foundations of the Austrian state.
Herbie Langhans (Voodoo Circle, Avantasia) guests on ‘Set The World On Fire’, which along with ‘Invictus’ are the album’s stand outs.Both have a upbeat melody featuring plenty of riffs and instant choruses. Serenity have that knack, like Kamelot, of creating sweeping soundscapes yet never losing sight of the melody and getting lost in overblown and overlong songs like some bands do.
Serenity get the mix of pomp and metal just right, whilst the relentless drum beats don’t overpower the music as happens with many power metal releases.
Chris Hermsdörfer adds some growl vocals to ‘My Kingdom Comes’, a good, pounding power metal number. Georg Neuhauser has a suitably rousing vocal, even turning his hand to the ballad ‘My Farewell’ (shades of Kamelot on this one). Not sure who does the symphonic arrangements on the album, however kudos to them as this song and the grandiose intro piece ‘The Last Knight’ are impressive.
Personally it takes a special album to tweak my interest in the genre as it can soon become very ‘samey’. Luckily Serenity have the ideas and melodies to entice in even lapsed power/symphonic metal fans like myself. Likely to feature in many a symphonic metal top ten come the year’s end. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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