Serious Black - As Daylight Breaks (AFM Records)

The first great release of 2015, perhaps?
Release Date: 
20 Jan 2015 (All day)

BAM!! There it is, the first contender for my ‘Best of 2015’ list, and we’re barely past the middle of January. Euro power metal act Serious Black are that rare beast – the ‘supergroup’ actually worthy of the name, and with ADB they’ve crafted one of the finest melodic power metal albums I’ve heard in the last three or four years.

Formed around the guitar, songwriting and arranging skills of Masterplan alumnus Roland Grapow, Serious Black are seriously good. Featuring former Tad Morose man Urban Breed on vocals, not to mention one time Blind Guardian tub thumper Thomen Stauch behind the kit, this band packs a serious punch. (That’s enough use of the word 'serious' – Ed). 

Stirring metallic anthems like Setting Fire to the Earth or strident opener I Seek No Other Life will waste no time in igniting the juices within every power metal fan, the latter track especially being a banner waving statement of intent, whilst the balladic title track shows a melodic sensibility often suppressed by bands of this ilk in favour of adding yet more six string firepower to the mix. Make no mistake – when Serious Black take their foot off the pedal a little, they remain just as devastatingly potent as when they are firing on all cylinders. That said, thunderously melodic metal workouts like album closer Older and Wiser sound to this reviewer like the band’s natural milieu – muscular riffage, piston like double kick and an ebola-level of infectiousness come chorus time all combining to create another track in a certified all-killer-no-filler collection of sublime metal brilliance.

It’s not an overstatement to say this album really possesses all the aces – there really is something for everyone collected within the record’s eleven cuts – but, whilst there’s a splendidly varied smorgasbord of sonic supremacy on offer this never sounds like just a collection of offcuts from the protagonists’ other projects. Everything about As Daylight Breaks sounds like a real, committed band working at the top of their game, and it really is an utter triumph in every respect.