Serenity – Death & Legacy [2011]

Band: Serenity
Album: Death & Legacy
Release Year: 2011
Genre: Symphonic Metal/Power Metal

 

“Death & Legacy” is the third album by Austrian Power Metal quintet Serenity. The album features female vocals from Ailyn (Sirenia), Charlotte Wessels (Delain) and Amanda Somerville (Noted for collaborations with bands such as Epica, Kamelot, After Forever and Luca Turilli).

The album begins with the introductory track “To Set Sail…” which is composed entirely of sounds of waves, oars, boats and monks sinking. It creates a certain mystique that slowly lures the listener into the next track: “New Horizons”, which begins with a dramatic sounding orchestral introduction before the guitar and drums come pounding in. A guitar solo soon follows before male vocals enter the track. The vocals seem to have a soothing element to their, which is unusual for most forms of metal and in some parts of the track, the vocals sound some what like the vocals found on an “Hammerfall” album. The symphonic elements of the track bring add a very sophisticated feel to the aggressive guitar riffs and drums. The guitar solo about three quarters in just completes the track.

The next track “The Chevalier” begins with a soothing orchestral introduction with a haunting voice in the distant. The track soon turns heavy. The male vocals are again, soothing, which mixes well with the orchestration, guitar and Ailyn’s vocals. The use of piano on the track is simply brilliant as it adds a kind of harmony to the guitar riffs. The drums are well played as well. The piano section, just over half way through the track, sounds beautiful, especially when the soft orchestration comes in. More duets between Serenity and Ailyn? Oh god, yes please! Anyway, back to the review, the guitar towards the end is just mind blowingly good, even with the vocals.

“Far from Home” comes shredding in next, with an extremely melodic and fast-paced intro. The slight use of orchestration in the intro works surprisingly well, as it lets the listener enjoy the guitar’s intro more than they would if there was more orchestration. More melodic riffs make appearances through the track. The guitar solo halfway through is surprisingly fast paced and the use of a choir and orchestration straight after it is just genius. Straight after is “Heavenly Missionary”, which begins a vocal intro which leads straight to orchestration and ruthless guitar, drums and bass. The use of piano and orchestration through the track is astounding and the guitar solo that follows is just amazing.

The sixth track, “Prayer” is next, which is one of three interlude tracks on this album. Like “The Chevalier” it features guest vocals from Sirenia’s Ailyn.  The track is composed of church bells ringing faintly, choir-like vocals and what one could believe to be a prayer said in Latin. “State of Siege” is next and it begins with a military sounding drum roll on the snare mixed with folk-styled orchestration, giving the track a Braveheart-meets-300 kind of feel. Almost 2 minutes in the track turns with a shredding guitar riff into a solo, before the male vocals come in bringing the track to a sudden calm, mixed with piano and light drums. The guitars reappear after, bringing some heaviness back to the track. The guitar solo can on this track can only be described as “divine”.

Next is “Changing Fate” which features guest vocals from Amanda Somerville. The track begins with what would sound to be either a medieval acoustic guitar. The male vocals soon come in, which keep the track calm and slow paced.  The violin works well with both the vocals and the medieval guitar. Amanda’s vocals come in along side the drums. Her voice makes the track sound like a very soft and not-so-dramatic Nightwish track, especially when combined with the male vocals. Halfway through, the track turns heavy with orchestration and piano. A somewhat epic guitar solo soon follows. Towards the end of the track, only Amanda’s vocals and a beautiful piano medley can be heard before been accompanied by violin, the male vocals and the acoustic guitar.

“When Canvas Starts To Burn” comes after and it is perhaps the most aggressive track on the album. Straight away, the intro riff has the potential to burst the ear drums of any power/symphonic metal fan. The vocals have turned more aggressive and raw, though that could be due to the effect added to them. The track does soon turn softer straight after, with more use of orchestration and softer vocals. The track turns aggressive again later on, before switching back to soft. The guitar solo sounds as if it has some influence from a “Rhapsody of Fire” track.

“Serenade of Flames” is next and it features guest vocals from Charlotte Wessels of “Delain”. The track begins with a slow, solo-sounding guitar intro before the orchestration and drums kick in. The guitar soon turns raw and aggressive, before turning slow and clean for the vocals. The male vocals sound raw, to an extent. Charlotte’s vocals sound angelic. The chorus of the track sounds brilliant, as it combined both vocals and the previously stated aggressiveness of the guitar. The use of choir-like vocals helps add the symphonic elements to this track. The track finishes with a soft vocal and musical section before turning heavy for the track’s finale.

The second interlude “Under Eastern Skies” comes next. It’s mainly composed of middle eastern styled medleys and Arabic male and female vocals. “Beyond Desert Sands” comes bursting in next and it is surprisingly heavy and fast-paced to begin with, mixed with a slight use of piano. The vocals that follow after are no longer soothing like they have been in most of the album. The track is a mix of fast-paced riffs and heaviness and calm and slow-paced. The guitar solo is just brilliant and there is a slight use of female vocals on parts of the track.

Next is the third and final interlude “Lament”. It is performed by Fabio D’Amore. The language used on this track sounds to be Italian or an Arabic language. The final track “My Legacy” comes next and it begins with a piano medley and soothing male vocals before a melodic guitar riff comes shredding in. The track turns calm again and then heavy. The orchestrated elements are mind blowing, making this track the best track on the album. The guitar solo is also the best one on the album.

“Serenity” is a true masterpiece in terms of symphonic power metal. It is well produced and well-composed. It is definitely worth the buy!

5/5

Nico Davidson

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