Review Summary: "Death and Legacy" is the sound of a band who know what they're doing and who do it very well.
It's always a pleasure when, as a listener, you stumble upon a band that you haven't listened to before. And so was the case when I first discovered the music of Serenity, accidentally stumbling upon the video for "The Chevalier" on YouTube one day. A few days later, Death & Legacy arrived through my letterbox and so began a new discovery for me in the world of power metal.
The thing that really lets down Serenity is their past efforts. 'Fallen Sanctuary' wasn' a terrible album, but it didn't exactly set the musical world alight. It was a rather mediocre album with small sprinklings of inspiration. Luckily, Death & Legacy represents a band who have really upped their game. From the opening aural cascade of "Set Sail To..." into the orchestral chords of "New Horizons", it's clear that this is a more polished listening experience.
It is true that Serenity haven't exactly pushed the boundaries of their genre, but this is nonetheless a very well made album from a band who not only play to their strengths, but also seem very aware of what the listeners expects from an album of this type. Songs such as "The Chevalier" (with a guest vocal appearance from Sirenia's Ailyn) and "State of Siege" possess soaring choruses, whilst "Far From Home" is an epic musical adventure from start to finish. The album follows the theme of historial figures, with every song portraying the story of famous figures from history such as Christopher Columbus, Sir Francis Drake, Giacomo Casanova and Marco Polo. But it's not a silly concept album full of songs with little impact- in fact, you could completely ignore the lyrical content of the songs and simply enjoy the sheer levels of musicianship occuring underneath.
The band themselves are in fine form. The guitar work is as you'd expect, with moments of flourish interspersed with simpler musical efforts, but all of it seems to work in the context of the album. The acoustic playing on "Changing Fate" is effective if not particularly challenging, but it matters little. After all, Serenity are a band who have a lot more going on with their music than just guitar work. The orchsetral sections are the finest factor on this album, with the opening to "State of Siege" being a certain high point of the album. The band don't hold back on the heavier side of things, either, with "When Canvas Starts to Burn" possessing a thrash-y riff that even Metallica would be proud of. The witch hunt themed "Serenade of Flames" also possesses a metallic crunch that some of the softer songs on this album do not. The vocal performance of Georg Neuhauser is up there with his contemporaries, channelling the likes of Sonata Arctica's Tony Kakko and even Nightwish's Marco Hietala on the heavier moments of the album. However, Neuhauser tempers all this with his own unique style, which seems familiar yet wonderfully individual at the same time.
As is the case with this style of music, you're unlikely to be unimpressed if you hate the likes of power metal or symphonic metal. If you're a fan of this genre, though, which is surely where the appeal of the album will lie, you're likely to find something to really like here. It's not a fantastic album but it's an impressive effort packed full of songs that demonstrate a real keen ear for a good tune. If this represents a turning point in Serenity's career, which I sincerely hope it does, here's hoping it leads to even greater things.
This is the sound of a band who know what they're doing, and who do it very well.
- The Chevalier
- Far From Home
- State of Siege