Back in 2015, a new band was introduced to the world of melodic power metal. Serious Black was a power metal fans all-star cast of band members featuring Roland Grapow (Masterplan, ex-Helloween), Thomen Stauch (ex-Blind Guardian), Mario Lochert (ex-Visions Of Atlantis), Dominik Sebastian (Edenbridge), Jan Vacik (ex-Dreamscape) and the golden voice of Urban Breed (ex-Tad Morose, ex-Bloodbound, ex-Trail of Murder, and Project Arcadia).
The band were signed to AFM Records and released their fine debut album As Daylight Breaks, which showcased fine musicianship and quality songwriting with heaviness, hooks, and melody galore. Sadly, the line-up did not last long as Grapow left to focus on Masterplan followed by Stauch. Undeterred, the band continued on with new guitarist Bob Katsionis (Firewind) and new drummer Alex Holzwarth (Rhapsody of Fire) and was the opening act on several successful European tours featuring headliners Hammerfall, Gamma Ray, and Kamelot.
On September 9th, Serious Black is set to release their sophomore effort, Mirrorblack, on AFM Records, just a day before their U.S. debut performance on September 10th at ProgPower USA in Atlanta, Georgia. Your friendly neighborhood Honey Badger will be in attendance to witness the show as well as an exclusive interview with Serious Black, so stay tuned to Lady Obscure for that..but now, on to the album review!
The album starts off with the short but ominous cinematic and symphonic instrumental intro Breaking The Surface and quickly launces into the uptempo power anthem As Long As I’m Alive. The band is firing on all cylinders as lead vocalist Urban Breed’s powerful melodic vocals carry the songs main melody with some bluesy razor sharp riffs from guitar duo Katsionis and Sebastian. The rhythm section of Holzwarth and Lochert are locked in and tight as hell.
Up next is the bands first video/single Castor Skies, a heavy riff-laden power metal epic with heavy guitars and speedy machine gun double bass drumming of Holzwarth. The chorus is soaring and filled with harmony vocals and massive melodies.
Heartbroken Soul is a mid-tempo rocker, which has elements of classic metal bands like Judas Priest (Metal God) and a bass line that is reminiscent of Dio (Holy Diver). Once again Breed’s vocals are superb, showcasing why he is one of the finest vocalists in modern day power metal.
Keyboardist Jan Vacik takes over lead vocals on the AOR keyboard heavy Dying Hearts. Vacik has a very pleasant vocal style, which is a nice compliment to Urban’s vocals and the song fits in the style of Mirrorworld perfectly.
You’re Not Alone is a traditional power metal headbanger that has an old school Helloween vibe going on and an uptempo double bass drum attack. The title track is another uptempo rocker with some aggressive, passionate, and powerful vocals from Urban Breed.
State of My Despair is another keyboard heavy metal track with some great melodies and a great hook throughout the song.
The albums final song The Unborn Never Die is a soaring metal anthem with some powerful lead vocals and some sweet harmony lead guitar work from Katsionis and Sebastian.
The overall length of the album is under 40 minutes which makes it seem like its over just when the album starts really kicking in, but the good thing is that the album has no weak moments. No fillers to be seen or heard on Mirrorworld. I’m really looking forward to seeing their U.S. debut at ProgPower to see how the new songs go over in a live setting. For fans of melodic power metal this is a must have album.