Serious Black - 'As Daylight Breaks' CD Review (AFM Records) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Serious Black - 'As Daylight Breaks' CD Review (AFM Records)

Serious Black - 'As Daylight Breaks' CD Review (AFM Records)
Serious Black is a new six-piece band formed by Roland Grapow (Masterplan, x-Helloween) and the rest of the band’s lineup is a ‘who’s who’ of European power metal. The band lineup is comprised of Roland Grapow, 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).

The band’s debut CD, As Daylight Breaks, comes out January 20th (US) on AFM Records and the initial pressing includes three bonus tracks: “Someone Else’s Life”, “Fly On” and a cover of Genesis’ “No Son of Mine”. In the band’s press release, they want to make it clear that Serious Black is more than a studio project as every member of the band was involved in songwriting and recording and the band will be touring next year in support of Hammerfall.

The disc starts off with “I Seek No Other Life” which showcases the band’s core power metal sound. This song features big guitar riffs along with a nice, melodic solo, upfront vocals and breakneck drumming. While the band’s power metal sound is a constant, underlying core, the band expands on this core by shading the edges with elements of prog rock, symphonic metal and AOR/arena rock and there is also a middle-eastern flair on some of the songs toward the middle of the disc.

Jan Vacik’s keyboard and piano come into prominence with “High and Low” and “Sealing My Fate”. “High and Low” opens with a proggy keyboard run and the melodic guitar riffing is balanced with the keys. “Sealing My Fate” is a mellow, mid-tempo number with flairs of AOR which starts with a piano opening and slowly gets harder edged, adding big power metal riffs, as the song goes on. “Temple of the Sun” is an atmospheric/symphonic instrumental with a middle-eastern flare which serves as a lead-in to “Akhenaton” and “Akhenaton” keeps the middle-eastern vibe but layers around it a melodic, late-70’s hard rock sound.

Some of the other stand-out tracks are “As Daylight Breaks”, which opens with Vacik’s piano and builds a symphonic base beneath Breed’s soaring vocals. “Listen to the Storm” follows in this same symphonic vein but is a hard-rock number with a dark opening. The disc closes with “Older and Wiser” which sounds a bit like early Judas Priest with its big drum sound, low-end bass chug and melodic shredding and riffing.

Serious Black Tour Dates
Jan 16 — Aladin, Bremen, Germany
Jan 17 — Turbinenhalle, Oberhausen, Germany
Jan 18 — Essigfabrik, Cologne, Germany
Jan 19 — O13, Tilburg, Netherlands
Jan 20 — Trix, Antwerp, Belgium
Jan 22 — Longhorn, Stuttgart, Germany
Jan 23 — All Karthalle, Kaufbeuren, Germany
Jan 24 — Z7 Pratteln, Switzerland
Jan 25 — Z7 Pratteln, Switzerland
Jan 26 — Backstage, Munich, Germany
Jan 28 — Live Club, Milan, Italy
Jan 29 — Ninkasi Kao, Lyon, France
Jan 30 — Razzmatazz 2, Barcelona, Spain
Jan 31 — Shoko, Madrid, Spain

Serious Black