The seventh full-length album by symphonic metal act Serenity, The Last Knight (Napalm Records) is inspired by the story of Maximilian I, the Holy Roman Emperor who, through a combination of military pressure, treaties, and marriage, expanded Austria’s borders across Europe for his family, the Habsburgs.
Another reliably strong release from the Austrian quartet, The Last Knight is virtually guaranteed to please the vast majority of their fans. After the orchestral and choral movie soundtrack introduction of the title track, the album opens properly with the seriously bombastic and Kamelot-esque ‘Invictus’. ‘Set the World on Fire’ follows, a slow and dramatic cut featuring Herbie Langhans from Voodoo Circle and Sinbreed, and a chorus that won’t leave you alone.
With its use of strings, and a riff reminiscent of Blind Guardian, ‘Keeper of the Knights’ is another standout track, as is the powerful ‘Souls and Sins’. ‘My Kingdom Comes’ features growled vocals from guitarist Chris Hermsdörfer, and ‘Queen of Avalon’ is another happy little earworm, even if the chorus sounds a bit similar to ‘The Land of Unicorns’ by Gloryhammer.
‘My Farewell’ is an orchestral power ballad, and a very good one it is too, while ‘Down to Hell’ picks up the pace again before ‘Wings of Pride’ delivers your brain yet another one of those annoyingly unshiftable choruses, before coming to a close with the uplifting ‘Call to Arms’ and an acoustic version of ‘Souls and Sins’ as a bonus.
Impressive orchestrations, chunky riffs, expertly played melodic guitar solos that don’t outstay their welcome, and another fine vocal performance from Georg Neuhauser all make The Last Knight another outstanding Serenity release.
8 / 10