Serenity – War of Ages


    Austrian Symphonic Metal band Serenity go from strength to strength and with the release of their new album War of Ages have sculpted a journey of epic emotions and subtle expanses which combine for a captivating and thrilling encounter. The fourth album from the band follows the acclaimed Death & Legacy with an equal melodic might and imagination plus an invention which stirs up the senses and appetite with impressive creativity. The release draws on and explores the lives of historical figures such as Henry VIII of England, Napoleon, and Alexander the Great, casting their personalities within a riveting wind of symphonic metal veined with the pulsating and hungry fire borne of other varied metal styles, the result an exciting journey which offers plenty for all melodic metal fans.

The album features the wonderful vocal caresses of Clémentine Delauney (ex- Whyzdom); a now permanent member of the band alongside the impressive tones of Georg Neuhaser, and no apologies will be made for saying her contribution is the best thing on what is a continually enthralling and pleasing release. Also impressive about the release is the restraint placed upon the still epically sounding breath of the songs, allowing the individual imaginative use of rich vibrant flavours melodically and muscular to find a potent presence with which to strength the invention and satisfaction.

The Napalm Records released album opens with Wings Of Madness, a track that instantly seduces attention with the kiss of vocal478_SERENITY elegance of Delauney alongside wonderful guitar coaxing. As the warmth of the vocal brilliance rises, the song opens up muscular arms to explore the air with striking rhythmic sinews employed by drummer Andreas Schipflinger and bassist Fabio D’Amore plus the driving riffs from Thomas Buchberger. It is a rousing charge with keys which wrap and enhance the stomping force with a melodic wash of beauty and emotive incitement. Into its creative stride the track does not exactly offer in many ways anything remarkably new but has an invention which interprets existing essences in to something fresh and inspiring.

The heightened melodic cascades to open up the following title track ensure the senses are fully awake and glowing from the invigorating entrance of the song. It initially crawls over the ear with a teasing mischief from vocals and guitar before blooming into a flowing sea of sonic whispers and melodic mastery, again cored by a metallic spine which challenges as potently as the keys and vocals eagerly seduce. It is a song which captures limbs and emotions bringing them in league with its romping energy and gait, one which also takes a tighter grip on the passions with each welcome of its open charms.

A major highlight of the album comes with Shining Oasis, a song which soaks its compelling narrative with full Eastern promise and sultry radiance. It is a delicious weave of magnetic intensity and sonic sunlight coated in melodies which evoke imagery and emotive responses, a song which shimmers in the heat of its imaginative flames of enterprise and beauty. Its successor For Freedom’s Sake suffers a little from its immense presence, the power ballad though finely crafted lacking the fire and dramatic intensity, though it is not exactly devoid of it neither. It is a strong song though and only pales because of the rest of the quality rampant across the album.

Tracks like The Matricide and Symphony For The Quiet continue the irresistible persuasion with contagious ease, the lyrical weaves as impressive as the songwriting and its engaging realisation. The first of the two is an excellent woven attack of djent whispering aggression and giant melodic splendour which feasts on and feeds the senses as well as the heart whilst the other is a riot of classical effulgence and driven hunger which equally leaves a full satisfaction in its wake. The greatest triumph of the album though is found in the mighty joy of Legacy Of Tudors, its opening period vocal inducement the invitation into a storming aural exploit of adventure and passion. There is a familiarity to the song especially in its urgent chorus which intrigues whilst ensuring the enjoyment runs deeper, and by its end the track is a lingering best friend for the passions, and the ultimate high point of the album.

War of Ages is a symphonic album which offers much more than other like genre releases, the craft and imagination of Serenity enabling a pleasure which works on many levels. A must investigate release of all melodic metal fans.


RingMaster 04/04/2013

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Whyzdom: Blind?

Blind? the new album and return of French philharmonic metallers Whyzdom, is a release to leave mouth, senses, and heart in their individual ways, wide open in awe. It is a stunning album, a startling world of symphonic and power metal caressed and shaped into something magnificent and epic, and most of all distinctly Whyzdom. Released through Scarlet Records, it follows their acclaimed 2009 debut album From The Brink Of Infinity and as good as that was the new release proves it was only the beginning of something wonderful.

Formed in early 2007 by guitarist and orchestrator Vynce Leff, the band was soon drawing strong responses from media and fans alike with first release, the Daughter Of The Night EP, which appeared less than six months after the inception of the band. Their blend of orchestral and symphonic imagination and sounds soon led them to awards and numerous festivals appearances, many as headliners, with their debut album only elevating their rapidly rising reputation and recognition worldwide. The departure of their vocalist in 2010 led to a long search for a replacement with Lisa Middelhauve, former Xandria singer, standing in as a guest vocalist for performances at the 2010 Raismes Fest and for a show in Paris supporting Tarja.

It was with the arrival of Elvyne Lorient to the band in February of this year that the quest was over and wow, what an addition she is. Blind? is a total triumph and the voice of Lorient as major an ingredient to its success as the inventive and stirring brilliant sounds. The album title has a dual reference to firstly the blindness of people towards what is happening around them and also how people choose to be blind in uncomfortable circumstances which eventually lead to wrong decisions and paths in life.

As opener The Lighthouse turns its epic aural charms upon the ear, guitars dazzling with a burn to their sonic touch, Lorient caresses and owns the ear with vocals which envelope and seduce. Avoiding the full blown operatic indulgences many of the genre singers seem to offer she sings with a delivery, range, and expression which is instinctive, organic, and irresistibly mesmeric. The sweeping orchestral weaves around her are delicious, their enveloping kisses emotive and evocative whilst the bass growls and sturdy rhythms keep shadows and intensity as full and dramatic as the dazzling melodic enterprise. It like many that follow, is a piece of songwriting which pulls you completely into its personal world, the perpetually dawning surges and triumphant crescendos as inciteful and invigorating as any rising unobstructed sun.

Dancing With Lucifer and On The Road To Babylon both transport heart and thoughts into realms of twisting gritty energies and pulsating melodic grandeur with hypnotic skill and emotion, each track an ever evolving canvas of emotion, vision, and brewing aural expanses. It is Cassandra’s Mirror sitting gloriously between the pair though which steals not only top honours out of the three but for the whole vast show. With folk whispers entwined around the uncompromising metal confrontation and the soaring orchestral elegance merged within a furnace like passion, the track is a raging tempest of energy and uplifting drama.

It is hard to find the words to fully represent the impressive presence and might of Blind?. From beginning to end it is a stunning piece of imagination and creativity, with the beautiful Paper Princess, The Foreseer with its perfect combination of extremes and perpetually unveiling, and the colossal closer Cathedral Of The Damned, just three of the exhilarating pinnacles of the senses blowing, heart bursting  theatre. The final track makes the word epic feel so small as a declaration of its immense power and stature, the musicianship, arranging, and sheer magnitude of emotive imagination sheer captivation and pleasure.

Whyzdom return to take their place as one of the most innovative and imaginative symphonic metal bands in recent years whilst Blind? makes a late challenge for the best album to grace and light up the year.

RingMaster 01/11/2012

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