Published on February 4th, 2020 | by Justin G.
Serious Black: Suite 226 (AFM, 2020)International melodic metal band Serious Black is back with a new studio album, their fourth in just five years, titled Suite 226. This time around, founding guitarist Dominik Sebastian (Edenbridge), bassist Mario Lochert (Emergency Gate) and of course vocalist Urban Breed (ex-Tad Morose) are joined by drummer Ramy Ali (Iron Mask). Like the previous Serious Black album (2017’s excellent Magic), Suite 226 is an album built around a cohesive storyline. In this case it’s the epic fantasy life of a man confined to “Suite 226” of a mental institution, a strange but effective method of working in traditional power metal themes – kings, battles, castles and the like – with a more (ahem) serious look at man’s descent into madness. Musically, Suite 226 is very much what you’ve come to expect from this band. Tight, melodic, not too cheesy, with the perfect balance of heavy rhythms and fantastic melodies. Basically power metal without the cheesiness, along similar lines as Masterplan, Firewind and Stratovarius. Urban Breed remains a huge part of this band’s appeal, bringing massive power, range and storytelling ability to the album. Suite 226 is filler-free, with just ten tracks averaging 4 minutes each. The riffs, melodies and vocals sell each song, and they do it well. The single “When The Stars Are Right” is a very effective example of the album’s overall sound and atmosphere, but it’s far from the only highlight here. The melodies on “Fate Of All Humanity” and “Way Back Home” are absolutely gorgeous, and the heavy power of “Castiel” is undeniable. They’re all going to get stuck in your head though. Chalk up another win for Serious Black. Suite 226 continues their streak of first-rate melodic metal albums, and is an early contender for the “best of 2020” list. If you enjoyed the first three Serious Black albums, you’re going to love this one. And if you’re new to the band but enjoy bands like Masterplan, Jorn, Stratovarius, Firewind, Evidence One and Pretty Maids, you really need to discover Serious Black.
Summary: Another fantastic melodic metal album from notorious mass metallers Serious Black!