Austrian quintet Serenity
is one of the many bigwigs of the melodic power metal genre, along with bands such as Kamelot
, Symphony X
, and Dragonforce. Their fame began to escalate after the group formed in 2001, today including members of other seasoned bands such as Fairyland
. They released a few short demos until they landed a signing with Austrian record label Napalm
Records, where deals were also struck with acts such as Draconian
. Afterwards, they released three full-length records, their latest being “Death
” from 2011, which served as a great definition for the symphonic and melodic power metal genre. In 2013, the group has returned with their fourth full-length release called “War
.” After a little lineup changing since the previous release, including the recruitment of a second vocalist, Clémentine Delauney, this ten-tracked helping of epic power metal will show the return of one of power metal’s largest giants to storm the scene.
In all respects, the musicianship fares very well in “War
.” The vocals are stellar, with Georg Neuhauser’s singing possessing great potency and emotion. However, in this particular release, there is more duality between both the male and female vocals than earlier, and it certainly works in the album’s favor. Clémentine’s singing is also excellent, being graceful in their notes, but on top of that, the album takes advantage of this duo effort to build up a more dramatic tone to it than before. Another element of musicianship that aids the record in this theatrical feat is the orchestral effects, including the piano and the violin, creating some nice melody and epic atmosphere. They don’t overwhelm the record or overstay their welcome, either, and they are used at the right times to make a dramatic effect. Both
the guitar and drums also help in making the release showcase the musicians’ talents well, providing a firm framework for the epic tones to have a basis for the album to have the cake as well as the frosting. On top of all of this, the sound production is also well-played, giving the music a somewhat resonant atmosphere to it, thus building up the fantasy-like aspect of the band’s metal tracks. In this release, both the musicianship, along with the production and mixing, is simply great.
The majority of “War
” focuses on Serenity
’s traditional take on the melodic and symphonic power metal genre, and for the most part, the band succeeds. There are plenty of epic melodies and choruses to be found in this release, and those truly do know their way around taking one’s breath upon listening. The songs are also structured rather well, so they do a decent job of keeping their listeners invested with their buildup and climax, which is also reinforced in a mellower element soon to be described. As stated earlier, the duality between the male and female leads allows for a great, dramatic and theatric effect for the music, and the emotion it builds up makes the formula all the more pleasurable. The orchestral instruments also play their part perfectly, with the guitar and drum work also playing their part in adding grounded foundation to the music, demonstrating a nice teamwork in terms of instrumentation in these ten tracks, to the point where the music is concise and concentrated in terms of sound and structure, while still hanging on to the more gripping parts. Although this full-length release does not throw too many surprises in terms of innovation or standing out of the rest of the genre’s pack, it does a very solid job in showcasing the brusque and thunderous side of the power metal coin.
On the other hand, despite the more energetic demonstration of melodic orchestral-laden power metal, “War
” also has its very fair share of mellower and softer moments throughout. A few of the songs in the record’s tracklist are theatrical ballads, complete with the vocal duality described earlier, and they each individually serve their purpose well in not only their efforts to astound people with their soft yet dramatic passages, as well as provide the album with some dynamic to make the more potent parts of the album come more to life. On the other hand, unfortunately, despite the advantages, this is also the area where “War
” most suffers from. The most fatal flaw of this side of the band’s power metal coin is that the songs that follow this formula do tend to sound a little too similar for their own good. In short, they have a rather bothersome lack of distinction. This causes these segments to lose some steam throughout the album’s course, and the epic nature of these tracks begin lose their vibe as a result. Another issue with these parts is that they do tend to be somewhat cheesy at occasions, where the band overplays this side’s dramatic aspect so much that they sound too much like traditional fantasy-romantic movie musicals. Thankfully, in spite of these flaws, these segments to help in creating some good drama and dynamic for the release.
With all these elements taken in, “War
” is nothing short of a solid effort. The musicianship showcased in it is stellar, and each musician does their part to make everything in terms of sound come together rather tightly. Along with that, the sound production and mixing gives this instrumentation much more explosiveness and atmosphere to emphasize their effect. As for the music itself, the band’s demonstration of energetically epic power metal is quite solid, and there is plenty to be enjoyed in this respect, particularly in terms of some of the spine-chilling melody. Sadly, although the mellower side does a good job of creating some dynamic for the music juxtaposed to the potent melodic power metal, most of the flaws spawn from that section. The parts have a bad habit of sounding too congruent and wind up losing their sense of distinction and variety, and they do also bear a tendency of being rather cheesy and cliché in their sound. However, even though this does get in the way of the release being completely enjoyable and investing, there is still enough in the record to enjoy overall. This being said, if you wish for something new or inventive to be brought into the power metal genre, you sadly are not missing too much if you decide to pass this up. Even so, however, if you are in the mood for some solid and epic power metal, this theatrical record could be for you.
Originally posted on: http://metaljerky.blogspot.com/