Dead Serenity – When Worlds Turn to Gray (Inverse Records)

Wednesday, 25th October 2023
Rating: 9.5 / 10

Apt readers of this site could deduce that most of the writers have a strong proclivity towards the melodic death metal genre – and have for quite a while. Ears perk up when hearing fresh music from artists that choose to combine the multi-pronged attack that the style lends itself to. Finnish act Dead Serenity live in this commingling atmosphere through this full-length When Worlds Turn to Gray. Founded in 2018, they’ve released a few singles which led to the Beginnings EP, choosing to take the time the pandemic afforded to really accentuate those dark autumn evenings that are ever-present in that part of the globe and create beautiful sonic soundscapes that evoke tremendous emotions.

Contrasts between alluring, clean calm passages next to engaging, majestic guitar riffs/melodies while the vocals cascade from growls to melancholy, lower to mid-range singing set up this material in a host of hook-oriented ways – dependent solely on what the brain/body focuses on through each listen. Opener “Ghosts” gets the record off to a vibrant start, the additional whispered vocals creating additional drama next to some off-time progressive /groove tempo juggling. The guitar/keyboard layers unfold for “The Game of Life”, one of those endearing tracks that reminds this scribe of Omnium Gatherum and Insomnium meets Dark Tranquillity at their very best, vocalist Mika Piipponen using measured grit in his growls to mirror the catchy musical platform on hand. The blasting, aggressive measures against sophisticated piano/keyboard parts allows “Ablution” to be a second half highlight, the shifting nature of the guitars next to the killer upper gear to mid-tempo drumming sure to exact the correct hair windmill, headbanging methodology this material deserves, while the guitar break is smoothly intoxicating on its own. Smartly self-produced by guitarist Toni Lind, the abstract cover art also adds a mystique that could garner some left-field attention.

The incorporation of standard Finnish melancholy influences next to the backdrop of melodic death metal allows Dead Serenity to be masterful in terms of their compositions, emotional expression, and diversity when it comes to the seven songs for When Worlds Turn to Gray. It’s been a banner year for this genre in 2023 – and this record is another must-buy, must-hear offering.

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