Released: 2016, AFM Records
Serious Black emerged back in 2014 with their debut album, AS DAYLIGHT BREAKS. It received good reviews overall, as this super group went to great pains to stress they were going to be a true band and not a one and done. Like real bands, but also a symptom of many super groups, two members have already since departed. Bob Katsionis has replaced Roland Grapow on guitar and Alex Holzwarth has stepped in for departed skinsman Thomen Stauch. Thus, MIRRORWORLD sets out to have much to prove already.
Urban Breed continues to be a real weapon for the band, demonstrating why he has been successful in other bands before Serious Black. The problem here on MIRRORWORLD is that it um, mirrors the issues I had with AS DAYLIGHT BREAKS and that is the band’s unrepentant adherence to the expected clichés. For one, we get the predictable cinematic instrumental to open things, now a standard for countless power metal album openings. First single, “As Long As I’m Alive” is fairly catchy and well-executed but not amazing. “Castor Skies” is more like it, with its fast and precise opening riff and a memorable chorus. “Heartbroken Soul” is a meek offering, by no means awful, but there is not much power or energy to the song and that goes for its follower also, the milquetoast “Dying Hearts.”
Unexpectedly, the album ends fairly quickly, the 9 tunes clocking in at about 37 minutes. Ultimately, there is nothing offensive or actually “bad” on the album, but it is clearly a step back for the band. It would be easy to blame the drop off in song quality on the lineup shift, but more likely is the fact that the band decided to release two albums in a two-year period, when they probably should have spent more time writing and strengthening the songs. Overall, MIRRORWORLD is an acceptable slice of melodic, lite power metal that will satisfy a certain fan base, but when your band is composed of musicians with the pedigree and talent that Serious Black has, being merely acceptable is actually unacceptable.