It's been 10 years in the making, but US progressive metal act Cea Serin have finally released the follow-up to 2004's debut Where Memories Combine, titled The Vibrant Sound of Bliss and Decay for Generation Prog Records. The current line-up of the band consists of Jay Lamm (bass, vocals, keyboards), Keith Warman (guitar, vocals), and Rory Faciane (drums). According to the liner notes, The Vibrant Sound of Bliss and Decay contains a few re-recordings of older songs that have long been in the Cea Serin live set, a cover song, and two new cuts. Intended originally to be a stop gap between the debut and a new album with the title of The World Outside in mind, this one took much longer than expected to put together, so here we are a decade later and it's finally out, and hopefully the 'official' follow up to Where Memories Combine won't be that far off. But, I digress...let's not get ahead of ourselves here.
The two lead off tracks, "Holy Mother" and "The Illumination Mask" date back to the late 1990's, and were included in their original formats on earlier demos. Here, they are re-recorded by the current line-up and given new life, both great examples of aggressive progressive metal, fast & furious, with plenty of musical dynamics, time changes, and an excellent mixing of melodic & extreme vocal styles. Sarah McLachlan's "Ice" is given wonderful treatment, with lush keyboards, percussion, and Lamm's soaring clean vocals doing the job quite nicely, and a tasty acoustic guitar solo from Warman adding a nice touch. "The Victim Cult" is a brand new piece that shows just where Cea Serin are in 2014, as tricky rhythms, complex guitar riffs, ethereal keyboards, and a nice balance of powerful clean vocals and evil growls. Check out the catchy chorus too, which hooks you right in and complements the alluring musical passages. Of course, this leads into the monstrous 20-minute closer, "What Falls Away", a somber story of a young girl's suicide and how it affects her family during the aftermath. With a bleak, yet dreamy prog opening filled with emotional keyboards and hypnotic rhythms, the song slowly begins to pick up steam, with ripping lead guitar work, chugging riffs, gymnastic drums, and those ever battling vocal styles, including some lovely female vocals courtesy of Brooke Mayfield. It's a prog-metal tour-de-force that any genre fan will enjoy.
Having Faciane in the band now adds a whole new dimension, replacing the digital drum sound of Where Memories Combine, and it's clear that Cea Serin are moving into much more progressive territory based on the new material on display here. Let's cross our fingers and hope that The World Outside, or whatever they decide to ultimately call the next one, isn't that far off.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1) Holy Mother (7:07)
2) The Illumination Mask (7:47)
3) Ice (4:55)
4) The Victim Cult (7:59)
5) What Falls Away (20:00)