This site is supported by the advertisements on it, please disable your AdBlocker so we can continue to provide you with the quality content you expect.

Welcome to Our Community

Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.

Serenity - Death & Legacy

Discussion in 'ProgPower USA' started by Fizrider, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. Fizrider

    Fizrider Quasi-Old Fart

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Messages:
    480
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    I am not a Music Journalist. I am not even a Journalist. Heck, I am not even that knowledgeable about modern metal. This is also the ONLY Serenity album I have listened to thus far - it is their latest.

    I do know what I like, though, and I really like this album. I do think that some of the pieces are repetitive in construction, but the lyrics and musical skill more than make up for this for me. I am not sure how Thomas Buchberger is going to recreate his layered guitar sound on stage, but I’m willing to watch and be impressed. Mario Hirzinger is a keyboardist I really look forward to watching… and I don’t spend a lot of time watching keyboardists.

    My favorite part of this album is Serenity’s ability to weave a tapestry of songs about prominent historical figures – not just retelling a story, but getting into the characters’ emotions and motivations. Explorers, Rogues, Artists, Royalty – all are captured in song in a way that made this one-time history student sit up and take notice.

    “Set Sail To…(Intro)/New Horizons”
    Epic sounding intro, complete with nautical sound effects interlacing with rapid bass riffs, double kicks beating into your brain… and abruptly shifts to the piano heavy “New Horizons”, an interesting Historical Fiction piece telling the tale of Sir Francis Drake. This is a theme throughout this album – 14th – 18th century themes and putting them to some catchy, thumpy hard rock. The pianos in this piece are quickly supplanted by some nice guitar licks and “melodic metal organ.”

    “The Chevalier”
    Neuhauser’s vocals are rarely covered by instrumentals, probably due to the story each song tells. This is true as well for Ailyn’s (SIRENIA) part in this song, depicting the affair between a Lady and Casanova. Piano heavy during the interludes, guitars take back over during the rousing chorus.

    “Far from Home”
    This piece opens as a Power Metal classic: intertwining guitars, driving beats, and then the story begins – I suspect the attempt by Bartolomeo Dias to travel from Lisbon to India. Beautiful guitar solo precedes the Crew’s Choir demanding the ship’s return to Portugal. Neuhauser captures the lament of Dias at having to abandon the quest prior to completion.

    “Heavenly Mission”
    Serenity’s tale of the end of the Templars begins with a haunting intro. This is one of the many songs on this album which could really benefit from an actual symphony – the keyboards are done very well, but violins, cellos, timpani and horns would be epic. When the symphonic parts aren’t playing, this is one of the simpler musical pieces – but less is more. This song is all about the story of Grand Master Jacques de Molay, burned at the stake before Notre Dame in 1314. Solos are poignant, but not overly complex or fast.

    “Prayer (Interlude)”
    Church bells, choral chanting, Prayer in Spanish or Portuguese (sorry – I can’t discern the difference). Quite beautiful, but not sure of the point.

    “State of Siege”
    Slow keyboard buildup to a snare and “fife” (keyboard) tattoo, slowly increasing in tempo, complexity and volume. Guitars begin with catchy hooks, keyboard switching to thunderous chords… only to abruptly halt for Neuhauser to begin to tell the tale of Cortez’ Conquistadores as they watch the native Aztecs turn on the Spanish adventurers. Vocal range is stretched pretty far on this song – successfully. The use of the choral canon prior to the ending choruses wasbrilliantly done, and I had to go back and listen to it 3-4 times because it was simply that cool.

    “Changing Fate”
    Another song about Sir Francis Drake – beautiful guitar (pseudo-classical arrangement) begins this piece – appropriate for a tale of a sailor who abused the Spanish for decades. This is the first ballad of the album. Amanda Somerville provides the vocals for Queen Elizabeth I. This song focuses on Drake’s perceived failures towards the end of his career, when England had a fear of a reorganized Spanish Armada. Gone is the optimism of “New Horizons” – Drake is now pleading for a final chance to serve his Queen. The love story between Drake and the Queen is told well by these voices.

    “When Canvas Starts to Burn”
    For anyone who thinks that the first five songs were repetitive in style, this song and its predecessor break from that mold. This song makes me think of Da Vinci, but some aspects are inconsistent with that Artist’s life. Regardless, the vocal variety, the rapid tempo, the darker sound is refreshing at this point in the album.

    “Serenade of Flames”
    The dark sounding instrumentals continue, feedback and buzzy amps…and then everything gets clean for lead vocals. Not that I mind, since this is the duet with Charlotte Wessels. Unlike the striking counterpoint Charlotte’s and Marko’s voices have in “Control the Storm”, Georg and Charlotte have voices that blend together beautifully. I’m tempted to believe this is a recount of Joan of Arc’s conversation with Cardinal Henry Beaufort prior to her execution. It could also be a recount of any witch’s trial, given the reference to “Malleus Maleficarum.” The orchestration certainly helps one imagine the power, wrath, and inhuman cruelty of the medieval Catholic Church.

    “Youngest of Widows”
    Distortion and reverb is used in this tale of the life of Mary Queen of Scots. I can imagine heads bobbing in the pit, fists pounding in the air during this track – only to be brought up short by the piano solo that comes out of nowhere… then heads start banging again when the guitar solo hits, followed by the well-written and performed Chorus. This seems to be one of the shorter pieces, but catchy lyrics and upbeat rhythm make it easy to hit “repeat.”

    “Below Eastern Skies (Interlude)”
    These guys listened to Orphaned Land while smoking a hookah, and put together a neat little diversion here. Credits are given to Edenbridge’s Lanvall, so I presume the female chanting/vocals are from Sabine.

    “Beyond Desert Sands”
    The derision and disbelief for Marco Polo’s tales are captured as the traveler recounts the marvels he has seen – and had ridiculed. Even higher energy than in “Youngest of Widows”, guitar work is soaring, transitions are seamless, and you can imagine hearing Polo recount his tale while in prison.

    “To India’s Shores”
    Driving rock anthem describing Columbus’ desire to reach India on behalf of Isabella. Breaks from guitar shrieks are provided by violin and soft keyboards. Chorus is longer than any verse, and can be a bit repetitive, especially since the song returns to the systematic nature of the first several offerings on the album. Great story, though, and performed well.

    “Lament (Interlude)”
    We now embrace another soliloquy in a Romance Language – this time in Italian by bass player Fabio D’Amore.

    “My Legacy”
    This song needs about 6 violins, 4 cellos, and a chorus in robes giving background – it is that cool. Serenity has spent many of these songs telling the tales of famous historical figures from their own points of view… typically in retrospect after they have fallen from grace. “My Legacy” is Galileo Galilei questioning what an astronomer does when blind and surrounded by the closed-mindedness of the Geocentric Catholic Church. This song is simply too damned short.
     
  2. Harvester

    Harvester The Promoter

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2001
    Messages:
    7,706
    Likes Received:
    244
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Excellent post. Thanks for the effort.
     
  3. Mardoch

    Mardoch Defender of the Universe

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,002
    Likes Received:
    130
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    I fell in love with the album the very first time I heard the opening of New Horizons. Holy shit. If only my neck could handle proper head banging.

    You're pretty keen on history if you picked all of those tales out without using the book, which I'm inclined to believe since you missed one. Albrecht Durer is the subject of When Canvas Starts to Burn.

    I love all of Serenity's discs, and I'm damned glad Glenn's taken another crack at bringing them over.
     
  4. Fizrider

    Fizrider Quasi-Old Fart

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Messages:
    480
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Durer was my other potential guess - I'm pissed that I missed it, since I actually know more about Albrecht than I do about Leonardo, thanks to a sadistic art professor I had circa 1986...
     
  5. Fizrider

    Fizrider Quasi-Old Fart

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Messages:
    480
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    I figured it out last night - I think of Durer more for engravings and woodcuts than for his painting - that's what screwed it for me.

    Killer song, though.
     

Share This Page

  • About Us

    Our music community has been around for almost 15 years and we pride ourselves on offering great metal music discussion, as well as music production and other closely related topics. We work hard every day to make sure our community is one of the best. Enjoy!
  • Like us on Facebook

  • Donate ♥

    We have worked hard for 15 years (and running) to make sure our Metal community is running fast, uses the best software, and isn't overloaded with advertising. If you love the forum as much as we love bringing it to you, please show your support with a generous donation. We really appreciate it!