Serenity – War of Ages (Napalm Records)

Wednesday, 17th April 2013
Rating: 8.5/10

The European cross-country band Serenity releases their fourth studio album in War of Ages. Hailing from Austria, France, and Italy, this symphonic metal act in their nine-year history has attained glowing reviews from major press and media outlets, as well as toured with Communic, Threshold, Edenbridge, and Kamelot to build their following. Facing one of the biggest changes in their lineup as founding keyboardist Mario Hirzinger quit in the fall of 2012 following their debut US appearance at Progpower, the 11 songs on this War of Ages brim with layered texture and dynamic depth Serenity has been known for all along.

Latest female vocalist Clementine Delauney moves from a live performance role into a full time membership, which makes sense given the larger emphasis on dual male and female vocals within the band’s songwriting. Musically opening with her angelic, operatic tilt against a cascade of keyboards and charging rhythms/ guitars on the title track, male vocalist Georg Neuhauser uses all of his expressive theatrical flair to bring your head into the clouds while keeping your feet on the ground.

Kamelot, Evergrey, Angra, and Nightwish would be four bands that come to mind when you hear the dark chords, stirring melodies, and soften to heavy contrasts in favorites like “Shining Oasis” or the Middle Ages throwback nature within “Legacy of Tudors.” Guitarist Thomas Buchberger injects the fire and brimstone quality that gives Serenity its metal edge – a dark tone that is along the melodic death metal meets pure power lines. Some of his best work takes place on the culturally thematic “Tannenberg” that carries elements of Gary Moore meets Dream Theater in his riffing and lead breaks.

Rounded off with an impressive female figurine cover and stellar production values, War of Ages could be the record to ascend Serenity up to headlining status in Europe, while hopefully encouraging more festival/small tour action in North America.


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