(7/10) It was two years ago when a new band entered the metal scene. It was ex-Helloween guitarist Roland Grapow who teamed-up with bassplayer Mario Lochert, forming this new band. The debut called "As Daylight Breaks" was released in 2015 and marked a good start of this new sextet.
In the meantime Grapow left the band, as well as drummer Thomen Stauch and the guys have been replaced by drum dinosaur Alex Holzwarth and Bob Katsionis on the six string guitar. This new formation recorded the sophomore album "Mirror World" that will be in the shops on September 9th.
In comparison with the debut "Mirror World" it's a next logical step for the band carrying on the sound by finetuning. The second album is more mature and it feels the guys grew closer together, even though there have been the mentioned line-up changes. I guess that some extensive touring activities with Gamma Ray and Hammerfall left some mark - in a positive way.
Serious Black put eight new tracks (+plus an intro) on the album; all representing finest melodic power metal that finds the right mix of heaviness and great hooks. It's "Breaking the Surface", a dramatic piece of music that leads to "As Long As I'm Alive". This tune is the first highlight on the album since I had partly the feeling I listened to the earlier Pretty Maids in some parts while the verse includes some Axel Rudi Pell and it's again Urban Breed, the singer, that does a fantastic job.
Serious Black also comes up with a sort of power ballad called "Heartbroken Soul". In general the tune is kept in a slow pace with a silent verse and a bridge that builds up to a catchy chorus. It's more than a solid track even though it's nothing jaw-dropping new.
The song with which has the biggest pop appeal is "Dying Heart". Serious Black takes things from a very melodically point of view and the harmonies are close to becoming too much. Still the guys don't drift away into a too chessy expression.
Fortunately the title track rocks again. "Mirrorworld" is a stunning rocker that has a balanced mix of hard and catchy.
The entire album benefits from a good production. Each of the tracks got a dynamic and nuanced sound that enriches all songs on "Mirrorworld".
Serious Black's second longplayer is an entertaining melodic metal release and a step into the right direction. How far the guys will get is something time will tell, but it's anyhow an exciting journey to follow.
- Breaking The Surface
- As Long As I’m Alive
- Castor Skies
- Heartbroken Soul
- Dying Hearts
- You’re Not Alone
- State Of My Despair
- The Unborn Never Die
Label: AFM Records
Genre: Melodic Power Metal
Release Date EU: September 9th, 2016