Serious Black - Mirrorworld - (8/10)
Published on September 25, 2016
Over the years metal has produced its fair share of so-called supergroups and more often than not they disappeared as fast as they popped up. Some, though, show more signs of longevity, such as Bloodbath or Barren Earth, and international power metal project Serious Black is back for a second strike with Mirrorworld, following their successful As Daylight Breaks album of 2015. Roland Grapow and Thomen Stauch have been replaced by Bob Katsionis and Alex Holzwarth respectively, which has resulted in a bit of a change in style, not so much a change in fact, but rather a slight evolution.
The weighting of the influences seems to have moved a little more towards melodic metal and even some hard rock influences (see the title track), which is part of why Mirrorworld lacks some of the punchiness of the debut. “As Long as I’m Alive” is an excellent opener, though, uptempo, good drive and energy, even though the keyboards are playing a stronger role, and Breed once more proves why he is regarded as one of metal’s finest, after which “Castor Skies” takes on a more neo-classical hue, with great energy and a very good keyboard solo, giving the album a potent 1-2 punch (or 2-3, if considering the intro), which bodes well for the remainder of the album, which as a whole clocks in at a somewhat unsatisfying 36 minutes.
Unfortunately Serious Black lose some steam after this, not necessarily seeing a dramatic drop in quality, but the songs lack that last bit of oomph or spark to get them to the next level to be able to keep up with these first two songs and only when they add some tempo to the songs, as with “You’re Not Alone” and “The Unborn Never Die”, things can compete with their excellent debut.
It seems that many metal bands these days embrace a more hard rock influenced sound these days, which in some cases can work fairly well, but more often than not gives off the feeling that they either are trying to appeal to a different audience at times or ran out of ideas. In the case of Mirrorworld chances are high that neither are the case, but rather looks like a simple expansion of style.
Serious Black’s sophomore effort is another good album that shows the experience and quality of the participating musicians, but ultimately has one enemy only – the very strong debut that it does not fully reach. Nevertheless, Mirrorworld is a worthy follow-up and should not disappoint fans of the genre.