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Serenity - Lionheart

Serenity
Lionheart
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 03 December 2017, 1:40 PM

SERENITY’s sixth full length, “Lionheart,” is a power metal tour de force.  These Austrians have their sound down to a tee and they shine through their own cliches well enough to deliver a catchy and symphonic album that is sure to please Power Metal fans. The opening track, “Deus Lo Vult,” is one of the best intro’s I’ve heard on a Power Metal in some time. The orchestration is catchy and bombastic, perfectly setting up the story of the album which is based on Richard I of England.  Sure, everything this band plays and sings about is a cliché but there is very little new under the sun, especially in this genre.  However, it isn’t what you do but how you do it. SERENITY does it very well.

The ending of the intro flows perfectly into the first proper track, “United.”  With its furious galloping riffs and monstrous melodic leads, this song is the perfect example of how to write catchy and anthem like power metal.  The chorus doesn’t hurt things, either.  George Neuhauser’s vocals ride high upon the symphonic metal tones although, at times, his voice gets a little too nasal.  Still, he is one of the better Power Metal vocalists going right now, mostly due to his more even vocal approach—he never gets overly falsetto or too out there.  I really like the part in the song where the chorus is chanting and the riffs match the same rhythm to create an epic metal ride. The way the symphonic/operatic elements work with the guitar is one of the highlights of not only the song but the album as a whole.

The title track is especially catchy and is a great overview of the album’s sound.  For a Power Metal guitarist, Cris Hermsdorfer is quite the heavy player with a lot of monster riffs and a very dense sound, as displayed in this track.  The chorus is catchy and Andreas’ drumming is intense. “My Fantasy,” is one of the album’s highlights.  It opens with clean piano, excellent delivered vocals, before super crunchy riffs break through the atmosphere. I love the heavy riff and the well placed clean piano that backs it up.  This is a crushing song that also manages to keep the epic melody going.

The last track, “The Final Crusade,” is really the centerpiece of the album because it ties it all together and even introduces some death metal vocals, from Cris.  I really enjoyed this new element and hope to see it used more in the future.  Even without the harsh, the song would still be crushing because of Cris’s fancy fretwork.  Not to be outdone by the other vocals, George gives what is probably is his best performance on the album. The portion of the song that is just violin and clean piano is icing on the cake, as are the female vocals.

The drawback of the album is the bloat.  With 13 tracks, I was hard pressed to listen all the way through.  It wouldn’t be so bad if some of the songs were just eliminated.  I’m aware its a concept album and has a story to tell the track “Kings Landing,” really doesn’t add anything to the album except extra run time and the killing of the albums bombastic flow.  It’s a softer, more ballad type song, which is completely unnecessary considering it comes right after another balled, “Heaven.”  “Rising High,” is a bit too repetitive and the music isn’t as interesting as of the other songs.  Having two ballads in a roll just straight up kills the flow of the album. A couple iffy tracks and some pacing issues aside, this is a truly excellent Power Metal album and if you like your music epic but also with some teeth, this should be right up your ally.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Deus lo Vult
2. United
3. Lionheart
4. Hero
5. Rising High
6. Heaven
7. King’s Landing
8. Eternal Victory
9. Stand and Fight
10. The Fortress (of Blood and Sand)
11. Empire
12. My Fantasy
13. The Final Crusade
Lineup:
Andreas Schipflinger – Drums, Vocals
George Neuhauser – Vocals
Fabio D’Amore – Bass, Vocals
Cris Hermsdorfer – Guitars
Record Label: Napalm Records
     


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