CD review SERIOUS BLACK 'Suite 226'

It was three years ago when German/US metallers Serious Black released the ‘First Light’-album and it became a bit quiet around the band lately. However, the buzz is getting louder again these days with the band having a new album in the pipeline and capturing a support slot on the upcoming Hammerfall tour.

Serious Black’s new album is called ‘Suite 226’. We’re facing a next concept album and this time it’s about a mentally confused man, fighting between the poles of dream world, reality and evil. Suite 226 that’s not more than a cold cell with a number sign stating ‘226’. In the imagination of the main character though it’s a suite and hereby the room is the prefect metaphor for the mental conflict the protagonist finds himself in.

So far so good when it’s about the storyline. What’s more exciting is the music that carries the narration. Serious Black fires on all cylinders on their fourth album and the opener ‘Let Me Go’ paves the way for this 47 minutes long release in a good way. Melodic vocals lines and heavy guitars, combined with an uptempo beat, characterize the beginning of the album. Serious Black shifts gears and moves further away from Hard Rock and releases an album that’s pure Melodic Metal.

‘Solitude Etude’, ‘Castiel’ and ‘We Still Stand Tall’ are other examples, showing the newly gained heaviness of Serious Black. Frontman Urban Breed and his voice is again a key element for Serious Black, bridging Hard Rock and Metal in a great fashion.

‘Suite 226’ finds the sweet-spot between heaviness and catchiness. Tracks like ‘We Still Stand Tall’ manifest this very well. Things never get cheesy on the album since there’s always the right punch weaved in, allowing solid headbanging. That goes certainly for the heavy stuff on the album but also the ballad ‘Come Home’ is more a treat than a musical ingratiation.

The album finds an end with the title track. Spread out over nearly 9 minutes the tune has more of a cinematic expression, being a key element in the storyline. It’s a very well-done track with attention to detail and a closure being rich in variety – a summary of the album if you will.

‘Suite 226’ is the strong return of Serious Black. With having such an album in their backpack it must be an easy thing to win over fans on the upcoming tour.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Tracklist:

  1. Let Me Go
  2. When the Stars are Right
  3. Solitude Etude
  4. Fate of All Humanity
  5. Castiel
  6. Heaven Shall Burn
  7. Way Back Home
  8. We Still Stand Tall
  9. Come Home
  10. Suite 226

Label: AFM Records

Genre: Melodic Metal

Release Date EU: January 31st, 2020

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