The year of 2012 was a year of highs and lows for Austrian symphonic power metal band Serenity. The band made its long awaited U.S. debut at ProgPower USA in September, and to many in attendance, stole the show on Friday night. Things looked bright for the future of Serenity. Then in October, the band announced that keyboardist, song, & lyrics writer Mario Hirzinger had decided to leave Serenity to focus on different styles of music (although Mario did write the lyrics for new songs “Shining Oasis” and co-wrote the lyrics to “Wings Of Madness” with Clémentine Delauney). Despite this huge loss to the band, Serenity has come back, reinvigorated in 2013 as they have added former Whyzdom vocalist Clémentine Delauney as an official member of the band. Having witnessed Clémentine and lead vocalist Georg Neuhauser’s onstage chemistry and performance first hand in Atlanta, I can say that the band could not have made a better choice. Which brings us to the new Serenity album “War of Ages”, which is set to be released on Napalm Records on March 22nd.
For fans of Serenity’s previous effort, “Death & Legacy”, all of the bands trademarks are represented on “War of Ages”. The music is grandiose, powerful, heavy, melodic, and majestic. For those who are new to the music of Serenity, the closest comparison in music style would be “Karma” era Kamelot. Lyrically, the band delve into historical themes and individuals such as Henry VIII of England, Napoleon, and Alexander the Great, combined with symphonic pomp and circumstance for a glorious musical result. As stated previously, lead vocalists Neuhauser and Delauney are a perfect combination as their vocals intertwine perfectly on the heavier material such as the symphonic perfection of album opener “Wings of Madness”, “The Art of War”, and “Age of Glory” and convey great emotion and passion on power ballads such as “For Freedom’s Sake”. Guitar driven rhythms and heavy riffs courtesy of guitarist Thomas Buchberger are the focus on “The Matricide” and “Symphony for the Quiet” with an underlying symphonic keyboard orchestration, as well as some soaring vocal harmonies from Delauney, Neuhauser, and bassist Fabio D’Amore. The mid-tempo metal of “Tannenberg”, paints a dramatic picture of the Battle of Tannenberg between the Russian and German Empires during the first days of World War I. The band enters into folk metal territory on my personal favorite track on the album “Legacy of Tudors”, a symphonic power metal masterpiece from start to finish with powerful drum work from Andreas Schipflinger, melodic guitar passages, and incredible vocal performances and soaring harmonies from Neuhauser, Delauney, and D’Amore. This song gets my early vote as power metal anthem of the 2013. The album ends with the powerful “Royal Pain” which has exceptional vocal performances from Neuhauser and Clémentine especially shines on this track, proving why she was the right person for the co-lead vocalist spot in the band. Delauney fits in so flawlessly and effortlessly, it’s like she has been there all along. Serenity has triumphed over personnel changes and adversity to record a stellar album. Based on the ten tracks (Unfortunately, my promotional copy did not include the limited edition bonus tracks “Fairytale” live and “Love Of My Life”), I would vote “War of Ages” as an early contender for power metal album of 2013.