Serenity in Murder – The Eclipse (Oyster Brothers Records)

Thursday, 23rd February 2017
Rating: 8/10

It’s often noted how strong the Japanese market is for metal on the fan-side of things, but the number of international metal exports from the country seem to be few and far between. Some notable ones for sure (Gyze and Shadow quickly come to mind), and Serenity in Murder find themselves amongst solid melodic death company here on their third album, The Eclipse.

With this scribe’s only exposure to the act before this album being a cover of Dark Tranquillity’s “Edenspring,” the band’s third act falls upon fresh ears. Operating in the symphonic territory of other acts like Skyfire while keeping the more aggressive side intact, a la Mors Principium Est or Arch Enemy, Serenity in Murder do play to a comfortable audience. There’s not too many major shake-ups to this style of sound, outside of a few light oriental influences. Truth be told, it’s actually the keyboards that save the band from feeling like more of the same – taking the thrashy, melodeath riffing (which does gracefully alternate between beautiful and more of an all-out assault) and giving it a more compelling and enriching vibe, sure to hold your attention. There’s more of a sweeping sensation to the orchestration, and tracks like “The Sea Is…” perfectly exemplify the richness the synthwork provides. Not that the guitarwork is lacking by any means, as mentioned it is quite striking and handles some impressive soloing, but plays to a similar vibe of many bands of this type. Emi’s vocals stick firmly in the raspy range, but she, like many in the field, manages to convey a variety of emotions within the framework.

Sure, Serenity in Murder play in a symphonic melodic death metal box that many seem to pander towards, but there’s still a freshness to it that should move even the most hardened fans. Finely-tuned orchestrations effectively blend to a gripping assault of thrashy riffing in a way that manages to improve both facets. The Eclipse impresses.

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