Serenity in Murder
The Eclipse


4.0
excellent

Review

by Kenneth E. Rathburn USER (98 Reviews)
February 13th, 2017 | 33 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Serenity in Murder take the wheel and let us, their passengers, savor the familiar-yet-scenic environments along the way.

Japan isn’t exactly known for its booming heavy metal scene. While X Japan and Dir En Gray have enjoyed their share of acclaim, the country’s biggest metal export has been an idol group that many would rather not acknowledge. Despite outward appearances, Japan isn’t without other bands of note, especially when taking Serenity in Murder into account. The female-fronted quintet is fairly new to the scene, having formed in 2009, and are just now releasing The Eclipse, their third studio LP. Much of the album’s inherent charm comes not only from the fact that it’s a solid slab of symphonic/melodic death metal, but also because it does a damn fine job disguising the band’s lineage, despite what the cover art essentially gives away.

The Eclipse’s exact formula isn’t far from what an established melodic death metal band would craft if they collaborated with Two Steps from Hell; for example, “The Revelation” features choir vocals similar to those found throughout Archangel. There’s even a touch or two of Dutch influence (think Epica) to find. Upbeat, occasionally rapid-fire drumbeats complement the many flavorful guitar riffs and solos, usually followed by (or following) respites that bring a breeze of natural-through-electronic ambience. Clips of waves crashing and caressing a nearby shore are frequently used to close out certain tracks, as if to contribute a gentle touch to the music. All of this is rounded out with vocalist Emi Akatsu’s convincing--albeit one dimensional--growls. The combined effect is a smooth sound with a faint edge, thanks to the album mixing, which emphasizes Akatsu’s vocals until guitarists Freddy and Ryuji seek to take over with style and substance.

Synthesizers also play a heavy role, something the album immediately establishes on a cinematic level as opener “Earthrise” yields to “A Torch for Avengers." From there it’s an almost unrelenting supply of epic, grandiose tracks, with “Genesis” serving as an early interlude, and the title track serving as a rousing conclusion. In many ways, each song is like a scene from a summer action blockbuster, the kind that wows with its spectacular effects and sublime scenery. Unlike other, similarly symphonic affairs, however, The Eclipse abstains from lengthy tracks, opting to dole out its extravagances in three-to-four-minute intervals. This stake in brevity is further reinforced by the album’s forgiving 40-minute runtime. As a result, The Eclipse gracefully avoids feeling like a burden that drags its listener through passage after passage for the sake of indulgence.

What Serenity in Murder have brought us with The Eclipse is an album that, despite its familiar adherence to melodic death metal, manages to be refreshing in how it implements its other elements. To say the album has a lot going on is a definite understatement, so the fact that everything is combined so concisely makes The Eclipse feel as comfortable as it is intriguing. Much like the recurring sound of waves pushing against sandy shores, The Eclipse is serene, inviting and hits with just enough strength to keep us engaged for many listens.



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user ratings (17)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenorazr
February 13th 2017


708 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Brief album, brief review. YouTube once again surprises me with its recommendations. This came up while I was listening to the new Mors Principium Est. I dug the album art, gave it a go and found myself liking quite a bit. Actual rating is probably closer to a 3.8.

necropig
February 13th 2017


1843 Comments


Heard a preview track which was ok, didn't know full release was so soon

Digging: Messiah - Rotten Perish

Sinternet
February 13th 2017


11841 Comments


'Japan isn’t exactly known for having booming heavy metal scene.'

idk i think the metal scene in japan is sizeable enough

Digging: Beat Connection - The Palace Garden

Xenorazr
February 13th 2017


708 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Compared to other countries?

zaruyache
February 13th 2017


15961 Comments


stream: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cz_Zc-8ebpc

Digging: Bing and Ruth - Tomorrow Was The Golden Age

Xenorazr
February 13th 2017


708 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks zaruyache, posting the link completely skipped my mind.

Toondude10
February 13th 2017


10614 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

never heard of this band, sounds like my cup of tea though. will check



good review too

Digging: Darkest Hour - Godless Prophets and The Migrant Flora

Ebola
February 13th 2017


2207 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This sounds right up my alley, but goddamn is that a terrible band new.

Solid review, pos

“Earthrise” yields to “A Torch for Avengers".

put the period inside the quotes

Digging: Jeff Rosenstock - Worry.

Xenorazr
February 13th 2017


708 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks for the catch, Ebola.



"is that a terrible band new." Guessing you meant band name? If so, I kind of agree. It'd at least work better for an album name. Either way, it's a fun listen, definitely the easiest 2017 album for me to come back to so far.

Ebola
February 13th 2017


2207 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I did mean band name. No earthly idea how I ended up with "new."

Will definitely check this out asap

Hellscythe
February 14th 2017


1524 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

read review, checked out, bought.



pos.

Digging: Kate Bush - Hounds of Love

Toondude10
February 14th 2017


10614 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

loving this so far

Toondude10
February 14th 2017


10614 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

early AOTY contender

frozencarl
February 14th 2017


29 Comments


their last album was really dope, need to give this one a few more spins though

Digging: Mors Principium Est - Embers of a Dying World

Xenorazr
February 14th 2017


708 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Well well well, thanks for the feature!

ZippaThaRippa
February 14th 2017


8809 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A little overly sweet but palatable nonetheless

Durrzo
February 14th 2017


1367 Comments


I like these guys, but I do wish the vocalist added a bit more range to her voice. Monotonous vocals are always a bummer imo.

Digging: Darkest Hour - Godless Prophets and The Migrant Flora

DarkNoctus
February 14th 2017


9816 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A little overly sweet but palatable nonetheless




yeah i think this assessment is bang on



enjoyable when playing though

humandoorstop
February 14th 2017


58 Comments


What do you mean when you say that much of "the album's inherent charm" comes from the fact that it does "a damn fine job disguising the band's lineage"? Do you think bands disguising their lineage is inherently charming? If so, why?

Xenorazr
February 14th 2017


708 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

@humandoorstop: The "charm" is a sense of admiration in the fact they're able to pull off a fairly traditional symphonic/melodic death metal sound. Before I looked the band up, I just assumed they were European, so when I learned they were Japanese I was very much surprised. I think there's something to be said about a band that goes for a style that one wouldn't normally associate with their lineage, so the fact they can pull that off so convincingly without sounding forced is, for lack of a better word, charming. It's kind of like Kamelot; they sound European to me, and yet they hail from Florida (represent). That, to me, is charming.



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