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'Codex Atlanticus'
(Napalm Records)
Out now

Johnny Main

johnny main


Serenity are an Austrian symphonic Power Metal band, who were originally formed back in 2001.

They worked on demos, eventually releasing one titled 'Starseed V.R.' in 2002, while having to deal with a revolving door of band members before 2004 when a stable line up was established. As the band battled to produce any recorded material they quickly established themselves as one of the leading Metal bands of the West Austrian region.

With the line up settling down, they recorded and released another demo, 'Engraved Within' in 2005, which drew them to the attention of Napalm Records with whom they recorded and released 'Words Untold & Dreams Unlived' in late April 2007.

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This was followed by 'Fallen Sanctuary' in 2008, where the band's sound would become less Power Metal and more Symphonic/Melodic Metal. 'Death & Legacy' followed in 2011 which was a concept album based on people and events of the past who had a historical impact, featuring The Crusades, Galileo and Marco Polo.

As the band's career went from strength to strength, the band released their fourth album, 'War of Ages' in 2013 which again focused on historical characters only this time it was Beethoven and Napoleon (amongst others) that proved to be an inspiration.

2016 sees the release of 'Codex Atlanticus', their fifth full length album for Napalm Records and sees the band once again taking history as an influence for their material.

The Codex Atlanticus is actually a twelve-volume set of drawings and writings (scribed in Italian) by Leonardo da Vinci which date from 1478 to 1519. The contents are laid out over 1,100 pages which cover a huge variety of subjects including flight, weaponry, musical instruments, mathematics and botany.

Overall, the album is very, very enjoyable – however, it's an album that requires a bit of work from the listener. You can't really have this on as background music but instead have to put in some effort and actually concentrate on the piece to get maximum return and enjoyment from it.

Kicking off with the title track, 'Codex Atlanticus' is a great start to the album. It's a piano led instrumental with a cello, courtesy of guest musician Simon Huber, and a soft harmonising vocal from another guest artist, Amanda Somerville as the track builds and build – being, as it is, nothing more than an intro to song two, 'Follow Me'.

Now, if you're expecting a rip-roaring song to follow, the band kind of set you on the back foot with the tracks simple piano intro before the song eventually kicks into gear.

You're pretty much half way through the track by the time the guitar riff from Cris Tían, backed up by a gloriously decadent keyboard part, and the vocals from front man Georg Neuhauser settle in. Having said that, it's a double whammy of great tracks right there and both are great in their own individual ways.


Another great track is 'My Final Chapter' which has a very definite Celtic feel to out with what sounds like a penny whistle during the intro and a considered vocal performance from Neuhauser. There's a piano and stringed accompaniment which plays to the songs strength and the simple from drum beat from Andreas Schipflinger under pins everything. From start to finish, it's a fantastic song which is brilliantly executed, and is a firm favourite of mine.

A common thing with a lot of songs here is the slow intro before the pace picks up. This isn't a bad thing but it ends up giving some of the tracks a similar feel. One of the exceptions is 'The Perfect Woman' which has a great piano intro (reminiscent of Van Halen's 1991 single, 'Right Now') before the true power of the song comes across.

After the intro has been negotiated the song reverts to a simple piano and voice format, and it's the closest a song gets to a ballad on this album. There are some simple drums are added quite late on in the piece as the pace builds mid-song, but it's a thoroughly enjoyable overall.

There's certainly a lot to like here and it's clear that the band know which direction they're going in. Are the tracks all pretty samey? Well, most of them seem to have a slow intro that builds up to a faster tempo, so they're certainly similar in style.

Are all the songs enjoyable? Yes, of course they are. Would I go back and give this a re-listen in a month or so – that's another resounding Yes from me.

You can see the official video for 'Follow Me' here:

You can see Serenity live here:
Friday 5th February – Central, Linz *
Saturday 6th February – Kofmehl, Solothurn *
Sunday 7th February – LIVE23, Bosco Marengo *
Tuesday 9th February – Divan Du Monde, Paris *
Wednesday 10th February – Underworld, London *
Thursday 11th February – De Flux, Zaandam *
Friday 12th February – Matrix, Bochum
Saturday 13th February – Factory, Magdeburg *
Sunday 14th February – K17, Berlin *
Tuesday 16th February – Masters of Rock Café, Ziln *
Wednesday 17th February – Szene, Wien *
Thursday 18th February – Rock it, Aalen *
Friday 19th February – Live-Club, Bamberg *
Saturday 20th February – Kammgarn, Kaiserslautern *
Sunday 21st February – Biebob, Vosselaar
Saturday 26th March – Substage, Karlsruhe **
Sunday 27th March – Conrad Sohm, Dornbirn **
Monday 28th March –Explosiv, Graz **
Thursday 31st March – HsD, Erfurt **
Friday 1st April – Batschkapp, Frankfurt **
Saturday 2nd April – La Coopérative de mai, Clermont-Ferrand **
Sunday 3rd April – Sala Salamandra, Barcelona **
Monday 4th April – La Riviera, Madrid **
Wednesday 6th April – Le Bikini, Toulouse **
Thursday 7th April – West Rock, Cognac **
Friday 8th April – Kulturfabrik Kofmehl, Solothurn **
Saturday 9th April – Durbuy Rock Festival, Bomal-sur-Ourthe
Sunday 24th July – Metaldays Festival, Tolmin

* with Xandria
** Supporting Powerwolf & Battle Beast

'Codex Atlanticus' Track Listing:
Codex Atlanticus
Follow Me
Sprouts Of Terror
My Final Chapter
Caught In A Myth
Fate Of Light
The Perfect Woman
Spirit In Flesh
The Order

Serenity are:
Georg Neuhauser – Vocals
Cris Tían – Guitar
Fabio D'Amore – Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals
Andreas Schipflinger – Drums/Backing Vocals

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