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Serious Black - As Daylight Breaks review


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Band: Serious Black
Album: As Daylight Breaks
Release date: January 2015

01. I Seek No Other Life
02. High And Low
03. Sealing My Fate
04. Temple Of The Sun
05. Akhenaton
06. My Mystic Mind
07. Trail Of Murder
08. As Daylight Breaks
09. Someone Else's Life
10. Setting Fire To The Earth
11. Older And Wiser
12. Listen To The Storm
13. Fly On
14. No Son Of Mine

Super groups are curious creatures. Despite often having superb pedigrees, in many cases they fail to achieve that magical chemistry which might even turn 4 average musicians into something special. In fact too often it's some sort of generic mash up of the members' other project. And with members of Blind Guardian, Helloween and Tad Morose in the band, Serious Black's pedigree is quite illustrious. So the question arises: does Serious Black rise above its origins to create heavy metal that will stand on its own merit?

The answer is yes (to some degree).

Serious Black is basically typical German style heavy/power metal, albeit a little bit more on the melodic side and with a few more hard rock/AOR leanings than your average Helloween or Gamma Ray or Rage or whatever other German power metal band one might fancy, except perhaps Edguy's latest efforts.

There are some really enjoyable songs here even if they're extremely formulaic. It's more consistent in terms of song writing than many established bands' recent efforts even though the older bands' standout songs are still better. On the other hand Serious Black are still far better than the myriad of power/heavy metal bands in terms of getting the most out of generic song structures and equally generic melodies. In some ways Serious Black have written the ultimate examples of power metal archetypes. This is the benchmark for stereotypical power metal.

The other problem with this release is one that is endemic in European power/heavy metal. That problem is overproduction which removes any rawness out of the music and slathers it in a plastic-sounding sheen. And Urban Breed's vocals have somehow become subsumed into the generic modern power metal vocal styles without any of the emotion he displayed on Tad Morose's brilliant Modus Vivendi.

For the time being As Daylight Breaks is quite a decent debut that power metal aficionados will find quite enjoyable. But they need to find their own sound or they will get stale very quickly. And this is not impossible in power metal. After all the band members come from some of the most unique or pioneering bands in the genre. Hopefully the second album will see the band finding their own sound.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 7

Written by deadone | 28.01.2015

Guest review by
Mountain King
This album is a worthy listen to begin with. Despite the various comments that it's generic or that it should've been released in the 90's, one would be wise to give this at least one spin.

published 10.12.2015 | Comments (3)


Comments: 5   Visited by: 63 users
03.02.2015 - 03:07
Darken Rahl

Great album. I would have rated it higher but good informative review.
03.02.2015 - 08:09
Account deleted
Gave up listening to it half way through it, too predictable, "heard it all before" for me, this sound has been done so many times. Surely, power metal fans will enjoy this, but for me it did not work. (maybe I'm gonna give it a second chance). BTW, Urban is amazing as usual, no doubt about that ( I'm gonna listen to Bloodbound's Tabula Rasa, I enjoyed that one a lot )
20.03.2015 - 02:43
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Good band, good music, but super group huh .... wasn't Asia meant to be super group as well?
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
12.04.2015 - 07:29
Interesting review, with which I agree.

This is all too true: "in many cases they fail to achieve that magical chemistry which might even turn 4 average musicians into something special. In fact too often it's some sort of generic mash up of the members' other project."

It's better than most super groups, but still doesn't rise up to the level of an actual band.

Why do supergroups suck?

Are the performances mailed in, with the performers saving their real effort for their own bands (and thus assuming fans will buy anything with the famous names regardless of the quality)?

Is it some lack of cohesion in a band? I'm skeptical of this because many bands sound great with new members or with members who dislike each other.

Who knows. The point is, with the exception of the first Demons & Wizards album, I've never heard a supergroup album that wasn't abysmally generic. (Not sure if D&W even counts... superduo?). This album is actually quite good and a step up from most others. If I was new to power metal and didn't know any better then I'd probably just LOVE this album.
"A life all mine
Is what I choose
At the end of my days"
--The Gathering "A Life All Mine" from Souvenirs
12.04.2015 - 09:41
Account deleted
Written by Bad English on 20.03.2015 at 02:43

Good band, good music, but super group huh .... wasn't Asia meant to be super group as well?

again you're going into unknown territory for you; a supergroup is a band or project that is made up of well known musicians, that's all. Cream and Emerson, Lake & Palmer were supergroups, too. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Your example, Asia, was a disappointment for progheads, listeners of AOR/melodic hard rock enjoy the band a lot. I like some of their albums but it's just a guilty pleasure.

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