Released: 2004, Nightmare Records
Let’s face it – one-man bands usually suck. Aside from some glaring exceptions, most “bands” that are really just one guy (or girl) can’t hold a candle to real groups. But what if I told you that there was a band that was the brainchild of a single person, and it was equal to, if not better than 90% of the competition? Now what if I told that the band was a progressive metal band? Well, most likely you’d be as skeptical as I was when I popped in this CD, but trust me, Cea Serin is the real deal.
Cea Serin is the invention of one Jay Lamm, who wrote all the music and lyrics and played everything, except for the guitars (unknown Keith Warman handles this duty). For a mere debut album, Jay has created one hell of a monster here, as WHERE MEMORIES COMBINE is a powerful tour-de-force of prog-metal. Covering all the bases and then some, Jay manages to show-up all but the absolute best of prog-metal. More impressive is that fact that while the music is reminiscent of a number of bands, Cea Serin manages to avoid copying anyone too closely, giving the album a sound of its own.
Make no mistake; this is some top-flight prog-metal, featuring all of the expected twists, turns, and excesses inherent in the genre. Keith Warman shines as a guitar virtuoso-in-waiting, absolutely shredding the strings with his solos (check out the extended break section in “The End of Silence”). As well, Jay Lamm is more than up to the task of driving the rest of the music, as each instrument is played flawlessly. My only complaint comes from his vocals. He occasionally uses a black metal-ish rasp that, while certainly novel in progressive metal, is a little too uncontrolled and irritating. As for singing, while he is no Dickinson or Dio, Lamm conveys enough emotion in his voice to be effective.
This album is a complete surprise to me, but a great one. WHERE MEMORIES COMBINE is an absolute triumph, and I am positive that Cea Serin will one day be a leader in progressive metal.