If two years ago somebody had told me that we could welcome Metal from Taiwan on our pages one day, even more than once, I would hardly have believed it. By now “The Metal Observer” already features their third CD, as the Gothic Metal band SERAPHIM offers us their latest release “Ai”.
And in almost every matter the quintet around singer Pay and master mind Kessier stayed true to itself. This starts out with the once more highly interesting cover and booklet, for which none other than Mathias Norén receives credits, very moody in red and pink hues. The sound also once more is great, recorded in the Sahara Studios in Taipei, the rest was put into the trusted hands of the gentlemen Karmila and Jussila to mix and master, so no complaints valid here either.
And the music? Well, it still stands between Power Metal in the music, opera in the female vocals andsome accentuating, pretty harsh Death Metal vocals by Jax. Oh yes, the vocals, just like with the previous album, still are Taiwanese, thankfully the booklet also has the English translations, makes it a bit easier to follow the whole thing, I would say.
„Intro“ surprisingly is an intro (who would have thought?), but after that we already see that SERAPHIM still are SERAPHIM, especially the vocals will split people’s opinions, for one Pay’s pure opera voice, which’s classical sound might be a bit too extreme for some, and for the other Jax’ damn harsh voice, which I personally do not like and thankfully enough it is not used too often.
Musically SERAPHIM process pretty darn traditional Metal riffs, which also would not be out of place with a Power Metal band, enriched with keyboards and a Gothic Metal atmosphere, plus the vocals, I have to add maybe that “Ai“ without a doubt is the most Power Metal laden album of the Taiwanese. Especially the duo “Resurrect“ and “Implementation“, the first as mix between Power and Gothic Metal, the latter with some tremendous drive and also more crunch in the riffing, additionally we for the first time get Jax’ Death Metal vocals, which for a change really fit, strong duo.
In the course of the almost 70 minutes, despite their yearly release rhythm SERAPHIM have damn long playing times, they still never get boring, which also is rooted in the fact that they bring in quite some variety within their style, as “My” shows, where Jax surprises with a good singing voice, which in the duet really fit the emotional mid tempo song. And after the instrumental “Aone” “Before” breaks through with tremendous power, fat double bass and heavy riffing, plus dual vocals, even though I still think that Jax’ vocals are too harsh, the duet still has got something, as the song behind it once more is strong.
I think that even though one still cannot really call them original, SERAPHIM still have found their own sound, which stronger than ever is rooted in the traditional Heavy or Power Metal. I must say that this band from Taiwan has turned into a quality source for good Metal, no doubt about this! (Online July 12, 2004)