Label : Napalm Records
Review by Davide Torresan
With this “War of Ages” Serenity reaches the goal of the 4th album. Time really flies since it seems like yesterday when I listened to their debut album “Words Untold & Dreams Unlived”. I was really blown away at the first listening and so even now. With a very attractive artwork, result of the creative genius of Seth Siro Anton, I was surprised by the freshness of the sound though it was the first work for the band. The following “Fallen Sanctuary” was the one that made me fall in love with them: catchy melodies, little hints of growl, epic guitars and choruses that remained in your head at the first listening. “Death & Legacy” was the album that made them famous worldwide thanks to the important collaborations with some of the most renowned female metal singers in the world. Besides the Serenity‘s concert at the ProgPower USA Festival in 2012 was a great success for them and for the American fans.
Even then Serenity asked to the beautiful and talentuous Clémentine Delauney to join them for some live shows. They asked her to sing “Fairytales” and “Serenade of Flames” since both of the songs require a female voice with the one of Georg Neuhauser. The good response from the fans and the particular empathy within the group on stage induced Serenity to ask her if she wanted to join the band permanently and she said yes. Sadly some months before the keyboardist Mario Hirzinger left the band to focus on other musical projects, but he continued to work with the rest of the band for what would be the 4th album of Serenity.
“War of Ages” represents a return to the past since its artwork and the graphics are again the work of Seth Siro Anton. The band stated that during the listening you’ll face a trip through the centuries deepening the personality of historical figures like Henry VIII of England, Napoleon or Alexander the Great. This particular type of concept album has been used also for the previous work “Death & Legacy” which described the impact that some prominent figures of the past had on history. Unfortunately I didn’t have the lyrics of the songs, so I could judge only music, but I can tell you that the level of songwriting is always good like before. I can immediately give you an advice: you must forget the catchy choruses of the previous albums like the ones of “Dead Man Walking”, “The Heartblood Symphony” or “Heavenly Mission”. The whole album is really compact so you have to listen to it more than one time to begin to appreciate it. The main problem of this type of CDs is if you are disposed to give another chance to the band and to comprehend what they really wanted to propose to the listener. Well, in my opinion that’s not a problem because of the inexhaustible talent that has always characterized this Austrian band.
With each listen a new piece has been added to the previous forming a musical mosaic made by songs with heavy guitar riffs and orchestrated parts. The first single of the album “Wings of Madness” describes perfectly this evolution. The orchestrations are less massive than the ones in “Death & Legacy”. Besides Clémentine‘s voice matches perfectly with the one of Georg creating a perfect combination. There is nothing she can’t do. Maybe growl, but who knows? The same alchemy will be repeated in the ballad “For Freedom’s Sake”, where Serenity show us their abilities in the construction of melting and sweet melodies. In this song Clémentine‘s voice reminded me the one of the lead vocalist of Within Temptation Sharon Den Adel, especially when she darkens her voice. But Serenity is also a progesssive metal band, and they gave importance to the use of strings, wind-instruments and piano melodies. “Age of Glory”, “The Matricide” and “Tannemberg” are some examples of the masterly work on guitars done by Thomas Buchberger. “Legacy of Tudors” is maybe the catchiest song of the album since it reminded me the sound of the previous albums. It has a folk/medieval intro with the voices of the band members and the sound of a harp. This little interlude doesn’t last long and it’s replaced by the overwhelming sound of guitars and drum and a really catchy chorus with Georg and Clémentine voices that give more emphasis to the song in a crescendo of emotions. Another highlight of the album is surely the final “Royal Pain”, where the union of the two voices can seriously cause you an auditory ecstasy.
At the end of the listening I was really satisfied: Serenity released another jewel of symphonic power metal. Well, in the future they should add some more new elements since there’s the serious risk of repeating the same things, but for now it’s ok.
“War of Ages” is also available in a deluxe version which contains two bonus tracks. The first is the piano version of “Fairytales”, a ballad from “Fallen Sanctuary” in which Georg duets with the former vocalist of Elis Sandra Schleret. Unfortunately my promo album didn’t contain it , but I’m sure that Clémentine did a great job since this song has been proposed several times on stage. The second bonus track is a Queen cover, “Love of My Life”. Queen is one of the favorite bands of Georg, so this choice didn’t surprise me. I’m definitely curious to listen to both of these songs! This album is definitely recommended to all the lovers of symphonic metal, but also to those who love metal with female vocals. Another thing: guys, you surely deserve to headline Wacken!
Rating – 90/100
- Wings of Madness
- The Art of War
- Shining Oasis
- For Freedom’s Sake
- Age of Glory
- The Matricide
- Symphony for the Quiet
- Legacy of Tudors
- Royal Pain
- Georg Neuhauser – Vocals
- Clémentine Delauney – Vocals
- Thomas Buchberger – Guitar
- Mario Hirzinger – Keyboard
- Fabio D’Amore – Bass
- Andreas Schipflinger – Drums
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