We at "The Metal Observer" always have been very international and after the late additions of Namibia and the Ukraine to our review-roster, we now may bid Taiwan welcome on our pages! SERAPHIM is a quintet that hails from this island off the coast of China that generally is not really connected with Metal-music, under contract with Spanish label Arise Records (no, not Taiwan, but SERAPHIM!).
So what do these four guys and one lady have to offer us? Well, while listening to "The Soul That Never Dies", various names shot through my mind, like CHILDREN OF BODOM or EDENBRIDGE, but what does that tell you yet? Not too much, I guess, eh?
Alright. The music is rooted in the technical Power Metal-area, with some sidesteps into slightly thrashy parts and sometimes reminds a bit of CHILDREN OF BODOM in its approach, also because of the very harsh vocals of bassist Jax, which do not exactly fit in too well, at times sounding as if he actually was throwing up… But apart from that and the fact that guitarist Kessier (also the lone songwriter) sometimes goes a little overboard with his axe-wizardry, the music contains a very big potential and level of quality that sets pretty high hopes for their second album.
Still SERAPHIM manage not to come over as a CHILDREN OF BODOM-clone in that already, by incorporating calm passages as well, enhancing the dynamics of the partly quite long songs and thus keeping up the tension within them. So what now, you ask, I had mentioned EDENBRIDGE, too. Well, there is another element in the sound of the Taiwanese band that sets them apart, female vocalist Pay, who brings in some operatic vocals, which at the beginning strike a little odd, but soon unfold their highly interesting effect as contrast to the heavy music, giving it a pretty unique touch, even though it can get a bit much here and there. And as with CHILDREN OF BODOM, the mentioning of EDENBRIDGE should only be regarded as a rough guideline, not as a strict comparison!
So even though there are quite a few points the band has to work on, the musicianship is nothing short of impressive, especially drummer Simon should be mentioned here. Also the songwriting is strong, plus one of the most tasteful and noble booklets I have seen in quite a while.
So "The Soul That Never Dies" is a debut that has a few flaws, but still clearly shows potential, the willingness (and succeeding) to differ and the class of this Taiwanese quintet. Go check them out! Oh, and it really grows on you, so do not give up too quickly! (Online November 14, 2002)