Serenity are a progressive power metal band from Austria who have been together since 2001, but are just now releasing their debut CD Words Untold & Dreams Unlived on Napalm Records. This is impressive stuff, with crisp and bright production bringing the vocals of Georg Neuhauser to the forefront over crunchy guitars courtesy of Thomas Buchberger, and plenty of symphonic keyboards from Mario Hirzinger. The band is rounded out by the stellar rhythm team of bassist Simon Holzknecht and drummer Andreas Schipflinger.
You know you are in for a classy ride when the two opening tracks "Canopus" and "Reduced to Nothingness" hit you like a hammer with catchy melodies and all the right prog-metal trappings. The latter is a memorable rocker, with blazing guitar work, driving rhythms, symphonic keys, and the soaring vocals of Neuhauser. There are even a few growls thrown in for good measure, adding a new element to what is basically a melodic progressive & power metal format. Images of Brainstorm and Dream Theater abound on the excellent "Circle Of My 2nd Life", and the dramatic atmosphere brought upon by Hirzinger's solid keyboard work & Neuhauser's passionate vocals elevate the emotional "Engraved Within". This one has a real spectacular and symphonic closing section, with blistering drums, ripping guitar solos, and huge keyboard sounds. Both "Forever" and "Dead Man Walking" will remind you of early Dream Theater as well as Vanden Plas, while "From Where The Dark Is Born" is a delicious slice of melodic progressive metal, with plenty of hooks, chugging guitars, and powerful vocal harmonies. The closing "Thriven" is a complex piece with unison synth & guitar melodies, that manages to change mood & tempo quite often. Buchberger lays down a wide assortment of beefy riffs on this one, as well as some tasty solos & trade off's with Hirzinger.
I'm guessing that this debut is going to surprise a lot of progressive metal fans. Serenity have all the tools to compete with the big players of the scene, so if you love bands like Dream Theater, Vanden Plas, Stratovarius, Brainstorm, and Symphony X, chances are you will fall in love with Words Untold & Dreams Unlived.
2) Reduced To Nothingness
3) Words Untold (Instrumental)
4) Circle Of My 2nd Life
5) Engraved Within
7) Dreams Unlived (Instrumental)
8) Dead Man Walking
9) From Where The Dark Is Born