It all happened in Spain, when Roland Grapow (ex-Helloween, Masterplan) and Mario Lochert (Emergency Gate, ex-Visions of Atlantis) had a conversation backstage over a cool beverage, talking music business – you know, what musicians usually do.
Mario contacted his friend of many years, Thomen Stauch (ex-Blind Guardian, Savage Circus), telling him about his idea. Thomen was sold and joined the bunch right away.
After that, Jan Vacik (ex-Dreamscape) and Dominik Sebastian (Edenbridge) were quick to agree to a collaboration, too. With that, a new band was born, consisting of five highly motivated musicians!
After a few considerations as to a fitting singer for the band, the newly formed group contacted the US-based Swedish expat Urban Breed (ex-Tad Morose, ex-Bloodbound, Trail of Murder).
After the first album As Daylight Breaks was released in January 2015, Serious Black played two big tours with Hammerfall and Gamma Ray and many other shows and festivals and earned a lot of success. Unfortunately, Thomen Stauch (Drums) and Roland Grapow (Guitar) left the band for personal and health reasons. These two great guys were replaced also by two other great guys: Bob Katsionis/Firewind, Outloud (Guitar) and Alex Holzwarth/Rhapsody of Fire (Drums). So the new powerful and stable lineup is complete.
In September 2016 the second album Mirrorworld was released, which is again full packed with great songs and hits. At the end of September the band will start their first headliner-tour through Europe.
“Magic is our first attempt of a concept album”, the band states. The story was created by vocalist Urban Breed, who introduces the listener to Mr. Nightmist, a figure, through generations, shrouded in mystery and legend.
On to the review! We open with “With A Tip of the Hat” a lovely intro that gets you ready for “Binary Magic”. Which is not a bad opening full song at all, with very symphonic sounding metal and some lovely harmonies.
“Burn Witches Burn” carries us along our journey with some great guitar work and piercing vocals that will get your fist pumping. “Lone Gunman Rule” continues the story with some seriously catchy choruses, with an outstanding guitar solo and keyboard work.
“Now You’ll Never Know” has a haunting opening then we are again treated to another masterpiece. In my opinion, the most catchy song so far! A great track then onto “I Can Do Magic” which has some great background noises adding an air of theatre to the song. Again some faultless musicianship on this song.
“Serious Black Magic” has us still hooked on this epic adventure as we delve deep into the story. “Skeletons on Parade” has a great creepy feel to this song but underlying is that core symphonic metal sound. Never too far away there is also a great keyboard and guitar solo, brilliant.
“Mr. Nightmist” is another truly magical song they just keep coming and another keyboard/guitar battle to enjoy. We swiftly move on to “The Witch of Caldwell Town” which really steps it up a gear with some brutal guitar work and the usual catchy vocals.
“True Love is Blind” is a class rock track, one of my favourites on the CD. Then onto “Just Kill Me” which is a another belter with even more great melodies and crunchy guitar riffs.
“Newfound Freedom” has a lovely keyboard intro which again leads to another symphonic classic and another catchy song. Flowing through this masterpiece we finish with “One Final Song”, a lovely ballad and a fitting way to end this saga.
A great concept album by this band that I have been watching over the years. If you like symphonic power metal this will be for you! Go get it now!!!
Mark 9 out of 10