REVIEW: Serious Black – Vengeance is Mine

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Power metal act SERIOUS BLACK are back with an exciting new album, titled “Vengeance is Mine” and a new vocalist, Serbian native Nikola Mijić (EDEN’S CURSE). Guitarist/keyboardist Bob Katsionis (FIREWIND) is also back in the fold. The supergroup, formed in 2013 by bassist Mario Lochert (EMERGENCY GATE), has released its sixth studio effort on February 25, 2022, via AFM Records.

On a shallow, superficial listen, “Vengeance is Mine” pretty much feels like a standard power metal album, complete with wonderful guitar melodies, powerful vocals, anthemic moments, groovy hooks, and infectious rhythms, but there is more hidden beneath the surface. The album opens with some melodic numbers full of guitar crunch and big choruses, culminating in the Italian titled “Senso Della Vita” (the meaning of life). Here, Nikola Mijić’s expressive timbre caries the lyrics superbly, backed up by Ramy Ali’s groovy drumming, Dominik Sebastian and Bob Katsionis’s delightful guitar riffs, and some chiming keys for extra texture. This single is a real show-stopper and a highlight of the album. “Ray of Light” offers everything one could possibly want from a power ballad – dramatic build-ups, keys and guitar riffs playing off of each other, subtle orchestrations, and emotional vocal delivery – being another standout moment on the album. “Soul Divider” is a fast-paced, heavy, and darker slice of Euro-power metal that proves SERIOUS BLACK can stand toe-to-toe with the best of them, like AVANTASIA or RHAPSODY OF FIRE. In between just these three songs, it is clear that “Vengeance is Mine” is a varied collection that fans of this genre need to add to their playlists.

Elsewhere on the album, “Tonight I’m Ready to Fight” and “Soldiers of Eternal Night” are as anthemic as they are melodic, boasting catchy choruses and rhythmic drumming that make you either bob your head to the steady beat or pump your fists into the air. Either way, both these tracks are up-tempo and energetic numbers that add to the album’s dynamic character. Piano notes and delicate singing usher in “The Story,” another highlight of the album, with lyrics that pull at the heartstrings. The instrumental side is just as beautiful, with well-crafted build-ups and melodies that echo the passion and intensity (and maybe even wistfulness) of old-school rock ballads. It puts Nikola Mijić’s versatility in the spotlight, making him a great asset in SERIOUS BLACK’s musical arsenal. After a misstep with “Queen of Lies,” whose cringey dialogue opening ruins the flow of the music, the album gets back on track with the statement of intent that is “Album of Our Life” and closing track “Alea Iacta Est.” While these tracks do feel like power-metal-by-number, they are quite enjoyable and all-around solid songs, with darker and fast-paced “Alea Iacta Est” being reminiscent of KAMELOT circa “The Fourth Legacy” album, which is not a bad way of rounding up the album.

To conclude, “Vengeance is Mine” may follow a certain recognizable songwriting patterns, but the high-quality material presented elevates it above its clichés and mishaps. Nikola Mijić shows he is more than capable as a frontman and his vocal delivery is one of the record’s strong points, followed closely by Dominik Sebastian and Bob Katsionis’ guitar work. The polished production also helps the big moments to sound even bigger and the mellow parts to feel really delicate. This is Euro-power metal done right.   

Written by Andrea Crow

Tracklist

1. Rock with Us Tonight

2. Out of The Ashes

3. Fallen Hero

4. Senso Della Vita

5. Ray of Light

6. Soul Divider

7. Tonight I’m Ready to Fight

8. Just for You

9. Soldiers of Eternal Light

10. The Story

11. Queen of Lies

12. Album of Our Life

13. Alea Iacta Est

Lineup

Nikola Mijić – Vocals

Dominik Sebastian – Guitar

Bob Katsioni – Guitar

Mario Locher – Bass

Rami Ali – Drums

Label

AFM Records

Links

Website     |     Facebook     |     Instagram     |     AFM Records