Serenity: War of Ages

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Serenity: War of Ages
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Serenity: War of Ages
Progressive Metal, Symphonic Power Metal
Napalm Records
March 22nd, 2013
Release length: 52:49
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Austria’s Serenity return to your stereo systems once more with their highly anticipated fourth album, War of Ages. The Symphonic Power/Progressive Metal group had a rough start with 2007’s debut, but it was 2011’s Death & Legacy that really captivated listeners worldwide. Does this attempt greatly dwarf their previous effort, or does is sit around and just another generic entry into the growing romanticised Power Metal world?

The audio quality to this release is about what you expect, having a largely crisp production value that accentuates the symphonics, though doesn’t end up all that heavy. The guitars have a medium range bluntness to them that sounds good, though can be largely overshadowed by the keyboards. The bass guitar isn’t too deep either, though still doing its job well, adding a nice bite that the music can definitely use. The entire drum kit is pristine, having some cymbals pushed in the background, some tighter tones to the snares that essentially matches the click of the bass kicks. Then there’s the vocals, which are the customary slightly nasally male leads, and background female clean singing, adding to the romantic elment of the album.

Even though all the pieces are there technically, War of Ages doesn’t quite hit the listener as hard as it could, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing here. “Wings of Madness” is a solid track with a little passion felt all around, enhanced nicely by the restricted female clean singing in the chorus. The lighter vibe from the audio just makes the simpler music a blast to listen to. “The Art of War” is a rich track, but some of the riffs end up having more of a groove than anything else, leaving a few seconds of silence in some places. Lyrically, it seems to mesh the obvious war theme with more of a Fantasy, imaginative world from yesterday, making you wish it were still around today. “Legacy of Tudors” throws the music into a slightly epic world. The main verses are pretty consistant and surprisingly heavy thanks to the drumming, but the chorus incorporates some additional Classical elements, as well as energy, courtesy the charging riffs and blistering double bass kicks.

But, oddly enough, some of the songs that stick out the most end up being the most subtle. “Shining Oasis” features verses that immediately cast an ancient Egyptian atmosphere, which is continued in some bridges up to the chorus. The progression used to reach that part of the song is also highly enjoyable, presenting something unique all around, especially in the vocals that take the laid back environment and into consideration. “Tannrnberg” is one of the lightest tracks without crossing into ballad territory, and it’s also one of the best the album has to offer. It’s a simple song that is pushed more with catchy, upbeat riffs that capture the eighties spirit well, and some slower spots that pull the bass forward more. The clean singing even has a little more emotion behind them, especially when they tackle a duet approach. Of course, this is foreshadowed by the ballad “Age of Glory,” which really introduces you to the skill of Clémentine Delauney, their new permanent female vocalist. It’s honestly a huge shame she’s more a background member given how beautiful her voice is, and how well it compliments both the music, and male vocalist Georg Neuhauser.

War of Ages is a rather simple, often laid back Symphonic Power Metal album that is just addicting. Nothing really goes over the top, there’s enough emotion and atmosphere to really stand out and be somewhat unique, and each song is a quality performance that any fan of the style will find him or herself bobbing their head along to at the very least. Hopefully serenity will continue to incorporate Clémentine Delauney more as time goes by, and her contributions sound fantastic given how Georg sounds. But, with that really being the only faults, it’s impossible to not recomend this album be at the top of your Metal shopping list.

01. Wings of Madness – 5:51
02. The Art of War – 5:08
03. Shining Oasis – 5:08
04. For Freedom’s Sake – 4:35
05. Age of Glory – 6:38
06. The Matricide – 4:56
07. Symphony for the Quiet – 4:57
08. Tannenberg – 5:49
09. Legacy of Tudors – 5:01
10. Royal Pain – 4:46
Initial Pressing Score: 8/10

Serenity (band)
Serenity

Digital review copy of this release provided by Napalm Records.