I have to admit – when I first listened to As Daylight Breaks, the debut album by SERIOUS BLACK, I wasn’t really into it. When I revisited it a couple of months later, something clicked within my brain and I really started to enjoy it to the point that it became a regular in the rotation of discs that I just can’t stop listening to. I’m really glad that I went back and had another go at it, because that gave me the opportunity to jump right into Mirrorworld (September 9 on AFM Records.)
First things first, though: there were a couple of lineup changes between albums. Thomen Stauch (drums) departed and was replaced by RHAPSODY OF FIRE‘S own Alex Holzwarth, and Bob Katsionis (FIREWIND) took over on guitar in place of Roland Grapow. One might think that this would cause a change in sound, but the band has mostly kept to the formula that made the debut such a success.
Urban breed’s vocals are classic Urban – if you enjoyed his work with TAD MOROSE or BLOODBOUND, you’re going to love his performance here. His voice is as rich and powerful as it’s ever been, and every album that he sings on tends to be better than the last, at least for me. He’s one of my favorite singers, and he never disappoints. Alex’s drumming is solid and what you would expect from a power metal veteran with his catalog of work – it’s intense and driving in all the right spots and clear as a bell. The rhythm section is completed by bassist Mario Lochert’s excellent playing, which is never overwhelming and really backs up the rest of the band well.
The twin guitar attack of Bob Katsionis and Dominik Sebastian is amazing – they put a lot of power behind their playing, and hearing them trading licks on the solos on this release is an experience in itself, and I just can’t get enough of it! The only thing that could enhance their craft is a great keyboard player, and Jan Vacik delivers – not just on the keys, but with some outstanding lead vocals on the synth-heavy track “Dying Hearts”. Jan’s vocals are an interesting change from Urban, with a softer delivery, and when he really gets into the chorus and the bridge, it honestly reminds me of the great Tony Lewis from THE OUTFIELD.
“Dying Hearts” is one of my favorite songs on this release, along with “As Long As I’m Alive”, “Castor Skies”, “You’re Not Alone”, and the title track, but to be honest, there’s not a bad track on this album. The regular version is about 37 minutes long, and they’ve packed nothing but quality into it. The limited edition digipak contains six bonus tracks, and based on the extra tracks that were on the first album, I have no worries that they won’t be just as good as the rest of the album.
If you’re a fan of the first album, Urban breed, or just really good power metal, you need to go ahead and get that pre-order in so you can enjoy it on release day – it’s that good, and I can’t wait to hear some of these new songs performed live!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM