Serenity – Lionheart

Symphonic Power Metal band Serenity is back with a new album, Lionheart (Napalm), and they are strong as ever. As on previous album Codex Atlanticus, which explored the life and writings of Leonardo DaVinci, the band’s passion for history inspired the themes and lyrics of the album.

As fans of the genre will attest, cheesiness is a serious risk in the Power Metal subspecies, and Serenity is one of those bands who manage hold off from going full-cheese. One of the reasons is certainly the magnificent vocals of Georg Neuhauser – as well as the other band members – as they are on the fuller, symphonic side of the spectrum. There are a few over-the-line moments, such as the first iteration of the choral solo on ‘United’ and the Stratovarius-like guitars on ‘Rising High’, but they are a decidedly metal break in ‘Hero’ and the heavy grunt-including ‘The Final Crusade’. This latter song also features one of the guest musicians for this album, with very pretty vocals by Frederica Lanna from Sleeping Romance. The romantic ballad ‘Heaven’ features Katja Moslehner, formerly of Faun, as well as a very strong guitar solo.

The album is musically quite varied, from the aforementioned heavy sections to the stunning piano of ‘Kings Landing’, and from the Bethesda-game-worthy ‘Deus Lo Vult’ to the classic Symphonic Power Metal reminiscent of old-school Sonata Arctica in ‘United’. The best singalongs of the album are undoubtedly ‘Stand and Fight’ and ‘Lionheart’, and the familiar smooth and the slightly dark sound of Serenity is heard most clearly in ‘Hero’, while Georg really commands attention in the opening vocals of ‘The Fortress (of Blood and Sand)’.

Serenity has always managed to keep their sound distinct in the often homogeneous genre of Symphonic Power Metal, and their new album is no exception. With stellar musicians and an interesting topic, this is an entertaining album sure to please fans old and new.

7.5/10

LORRAINE LYSEN