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Articles Home » 2016 Articles » Serenity - 2016 Codex Atlanticus
Serenity - 2016 Codex Atlanticus

ARTIST: Serenity
ALBUM: Codex Atlanticus
LABEL: Napalm
YEAR: 2016


LINEUP: Georg Neuhauser - vocals * Fabio D'Amore - bass, backing vocals * Andreas Schipflinger - drums, backing vocals * Chris Hermsdorfer - guitars, backing vocals

Guests:Simon Huber - cello (#1) * Amanda Somerville - guest vocals (#1, #9) * Natascha Koch - guest vocals (#4, #7, #13)

TRACK LISTING: 01 Codex Atlanticus * 02 Follow Me * 03 Sprouts Of Terror * 04 Iniquity * 05 Reason * 06 My Final Chapter * 07 Caught In A Myth * 08 Fate Of Light * 09 The Perfect Woman * 10 Spirit In The Flesh * 11 The Order * 12 Forgive Me (Bonus Track) * 13 Sail (Bonus Track)


WEBLINKS: www.serenity-band.com

I don't usually do symphonic metal albums, as I find them a bit beyond my bread and butter. However I made an exception for Austrian band Serenity. Now Serenity are not new by any means. They've been around since 2000 and have released six albums up till now, 'Codex Atlanticus' being their seventh. From what I understand, this was actually released by the band back in October 2015, but Napalm Records picked this up for a January 29, 2016 issue. Previously, Serenity have been compared to Kamelot and Sonata Arctica, which can only be a good thing as both those bands have been featured here. The other significant change has been to the line-up,with long-time guitarist Thomas Buchberger departed the band after their 2013 CD 'War Of Ages', along with co-vocalist Clementine Delauney. Joining the band is new guitarist Chris Hermsdorfer.

The Songs
'Codex Atlanticus' is a concept album based on historical themes revolving around Leonardo da Vinci. In fact, the Codex was a book written by the Italian maestro. I wonder if these boys sat around watching three seasons of 'Da Vinci Demons' on the Syfy Channel to get some lyrical and musical ideas? Everything you'd expect from a symphonic metal band can be heard on this album. Big sweeping orchestral movements, killer guitars and dominant drum work. The 'Codex Atlanticus' prelude kicks us off, like the theme to Game Of Thrones, it sets the scene. 'Follow Me' builds momentum but 'Sprouts Of Terror' really accelerates Serenity, with fast bullet-like drum work and bombastic symphony parts. I love the cinematic overload of 'Iniquity', I can just imagine listening to this 5-speaker surround system through my home theater! There's no relenting for 'Reason', Neuhauser's remarkably clean vocal delivery a real surprise when gruff and hairy cookie monsters dominate the genre. 'My Final Chapter' is a musical respite, mostly a ballad with Hermsdorfer's guitar solo sending it into the stars.

'Caught In A Myth' is a different affair altogether. Quite restrained with a gang-chant from a group of blokes who all sound like they are downing a few tankards of ale. We're back into the symphonic bombast with 'Fate Of Light', the double-kick drums driving the song from the outset. 'The Perfect Woman' is the bands mild-moment. It features Amanda Somerville on co-lead vocals, and is a ballad that would sit nicely on the AOR side of the fence. 'Spirit In The Flesh' has a medieval touch and continues that huge wall of sound. The last of the regular tracks 'The Order' pulls back on the OTT approach, coming off like a male-vocal version of Nightwish. There are two bonus tracks, 'Forgive Me' is a mild affair, and 'Sails' features Natascha Koch on co lead vocals.

In Summary
As expansive as this album is, be prepared to set aside an hour to listen to it. Get a high quality recording of it, and get lost in the symphonic overload that will be forthcoming. Apparently that aforementioned album 'War Of Ages' is their musical yard-stick, so it would seem I need to go track that one down too. Perhaps even give it a write-up if it's considered better than this one. In the meantime, I'll be enjoying 'Codex Atlanticus' for a few weeks more.

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