There are reviews that almost flow from your fingers and then there are albums that grip you, but at the same time give you a very hard time putting anything to paper that would do justice to the release at hand. American Progressive Metal spews forth highly interesting bands on an almost regular basis and with CEA SERIN I have a duo here that manages to set an exclamation mark of originality in this so strongly populated scene, without trying to stand out by twisting the listener’s brain.
Focal point of this band is Jay Lamm, who with the exception of the guitars has recorded all instruments on his own and also is responsible for all compositions. The guitars have been “donated” by Keith Warman, who also has taken over the production duties. Forrest Osterman, who is also mentioned in the booklet, is a live rhythm guitarist. The band was formed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1997 and “…Where Memories Combine…” is the first full album for CEA SERIN.
Without a doubt it is Progressive Metal that the guys deliver here, but the material does not have much in common with the common Prog that countless bands play. The band does not try to slay the listener with technicality, but erects a great atmospheric and emotional density, which transfers the very deep lyrics, which deal with the human psyche, into music in a very oppressive and expressive way. With this CEA SERIN do not make it an easy task to find a way into their own soundscape, even though they musically are not as complex as one might think.
The first four tracks are united under the title “The Surface Of All Things“ and reach almost 30 minutes, showing that the band, or rather Jay Lamm, puts more an emphasis on expression and atmosphere, continuously building up the tension just to let it explode and collapse, with very variable vocals, because even though Jay mostly uses his very warm sounding voice, he also utilises Death/Black vocals to accentuate, which hits you pretty much unexpected and surely won’t please everybody. In addition to this CEA SERIN also use spoken samples, apparently lent from movies, further adding to the quite oppressive atmosphere of the songs.
To pick out single songs is extremely difficult with this very dense album, I only want to mention “Meridian’s Tear“, as it compresses the CEA SERIN sound into one, covering all facets from atmospheric to heavy and also vocally expresses most diverse emotions. They also add acoustic guitars, which more than once take on a Spanish sound.
CEA SERIN without a doubt are a band that you will have to experience for yourself, because they combine the extremes in such an unusual way and even the drum machine does not sound too sterile, as it is very well programmed.
“…Where Memories Combine…“ is an album, which will split the fans even in Prog itself, as they successfully defy to use common schemes and formulas and walk their distinctly own way, a way that is very hard to put into words, but definitely lets the band stand apart from the majority of genre colleagues. Strong album! (Online October 6, 2004)