Serious Black – “As Daylight Breaks” (AFM Records)
On the face of it a new band, but look closer and Serious Black are big names from the most successful melodic metal bands consisting of Roland Grapow (Masterplan, Helloween), Thomen Stauch (Blind Guardian), Mario Lochert (Visions Of Atlantis), Dominik Sebastian (Edenbridge), Jan Vacik (ex-Dreamscape) and last but not least the golden voice of Tad Morose’s Urban Breed! Formed one sunny evening in Spain over a glass of wine, the plan was to bring the talent of six masterminds together and man, have they delivered on this masterpiece! Sounding in places like Riot while elsewhere Stratovarius, the comparisons are immaterial as this really is excellent melodic metal – possibly genre album of the year – as soaring vocals, passionate riffs, wailing solos and thundering double bass rhythms bring superior class to epic songs like ‘As Daylight Breaks’, ‘Setting Fire To The Earth’ and ‘Temple Of The Sun’. Strangely enough, the title track isn’t even metal but instead a soft, tranquil piece graced by pianos and violins but once again, these guys pull it off so well that it doesn’t appear out’ve place with the rest of the 11 tracks, and Urban Breed (the last to join the band) shows his true measure as one of the top vocalists around as his heartfelt vocals bring tears to my eyes along with a feelgood ray of sunshine. Despite the symphonic / power metal album cover, which in my opinion undersells the band, there is so much more to this all star collaboration that in reality has come together brilliantly as a band in their own right displaying amazing musicianship and outstanding songwriting – don’t miss this one!