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Serenity – Death & Legacy: Review

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

The Austrian symphonic progressive power metal band Serenity is relatively new to the scene. They released their third full-length album on February 25 entitled Death & Legacy. It is a very welcome release to the metal scene, meeting the high expectations they had set for themselves with their releases up to this point. Though it is a slight step down from the predecessor, Fallen Sanctuary, it is still a great album to say the least.

The Music (rating: A-)

  1. Set Sail to…
  2. New Horizons
  3. The Chevalier
  4. Far from Home
  5. Heavenly Mission
  6. Prayer
  7. State of Siege
  8. Changing Fate
  9. When Canvas Starts to Burn
  10. Serenade of Flames
  11. Below Eastern Skies
  12. Beyond Desert Sands
  13. Lament
  14. My Legacy

The progressive touch in Death & Legacy is rather minor in comparison to the symphonic and power metal side. It does have its progressive side, whether it is regarding its general song structuring or its encompassing concept. But its bombastic symphonic arrangements in conjunction with its powerful metal instrumentation make it unmistakably primarily a symphonic power metal album. It is somewhat resemblant of later Kamelot work, but with a stronger emphasis on the symphonic side. There are many vocal harmonies and choir chants, and a collection of female guest vocalists. For fans of the symphonic power metal genre, Death & Legacy is an absolutely unyielding portrayal of this style.

The most appealing characteristic is its symphonic aspect. Not only is it highly dominant and stylistic, but it is very creative and quite complimentary to the music as a whole. Though the vocals are well-phrased and the remaining instruments are fine support, the music would sound rather empty without the mighty symphony accompanying the music. It adds both an overpowering, epic feel and a whole additional musical side to the music, increasing its repeatability and long-term value significantly. However, most of the album comes to rely heavily on this part of the music and consequently becomes one-sided to an extent. Though the performance is fantastic, it simply could use more depth.

Comparing Death & Legacy to the band’s previous release, Fallen Sanctuary, its overall songwriting feels less spontaneous and creative. The melodic phrasing (particularly regarding the vocals) is noticeably better on the earlier release. Unlike this record, the previous one is less reliant on its well-crafted symphony, though it is still of great quality. And though the larger portion of guest vocals potentially add more depth to the singing in Death & Legacy, they also tend to detract from the album’s consistency, though not by much. Still, it seems a tad overdone in this release, as opposed to the former release where they seemed to find a finer balance. But with this album, the guest vocals do much more help than harm. In fact, there is not actually anything in this album that does much harm, but there are minor nitpicked issues that hinder it from a higher stage.

Overall, Death & Legacy is a fine album. It is everything that symphonic power metal represents taken to its outermost limits. Though nothing overly technical is done with the music, the songwriting is very natural and well-done. They just seem to have lost a little bit of their edge and perfection that was so evident in their second record, Fallen Sanctuary. Still, it is a great release that is highly enjoyable for repeated listens.

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