REVIEW: Serianna – Inheritors

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Artist: Serianna
Album: Inheritors
Genre: Metal
Label: Bullet Tooth

For all Serianna’s gargantuan effort, Inheritors is an album of mixed success. It opened very promisingly, with designs on the kind of epic symphonic goodness that brings old friends such as Epica and Within Temptation to mind, but is unfortunately marred throughout by a resounding lack of originality. It’s essentially an exercise in how to take one solitary approach to your song structure and rehash it nine times over, which is a pity considering the wealth of ability on show. It’s just not complemented by real vision.

“Fragments,” as an opener, wastes no time in vividly illustrating its intentions. It brings in everything you’re to become gravely acquainted with over the next nine songs – aggressive drumming, a touch of the symphonic, contrasting vocals and lots of breakdowns. It’s good, because it’s the first song, and you haven’t got sick of all the above yet. The percussion gives the song a concrete punch, the grunting isn’t overdone and the clean singing lightens the onslaught of guitar during the chorus. An excellent opener, were it not essentially a template for all that follows. “Guilty Spark” shows this instantly, as the heaviness gets even heavier with some hefty breakdowns and guitar solos let loose. The dual vocals mix emphasis with energy and it is well put together, if only it weren’t so predictable.

The instruments and music continue like this for most of the album – the main issue then really is the sheer lack of direction or vision. There’s no pause between songs, as the album segues from one blast of fury to the next. “The Rescue” is a collision of pompous six strings, shouting, and pummelling drums that is technically sound and quite easy to get into, but lacks real aim. “Virtues” is reckless and likeable, illuminating itself with a fine, cutting chorus that exemplifies the need for clean singing. The latter is an asset throughout, managing to soften the incomprehensible madness underneath and lift each song a little more towards the land of the living. Were the songs more inventive in terms of form, it could positively excel.

The designs on prog-rock symphonics do work quite well on the album however. Title track Inheritors endears after its formulaic running time by ending on a very ambitious but strangely compelling combination of vocal harmonies and string sampling. It adds some colour to the black and white sparring that characterised the song beforehand, and feeds perfectly into “Colours,” an instrumental and the one real stand out on the album. The lack of singing on the latter works in its favour, as it takes the looser feel of the preceding track and sets it to an otherworldly guitar refrain to conjure a gorgeously tragic feel. Violins join the fold a little later on, and the guitar breaks out in a flourishing solo to create a far more well-judged and coherent song than any of the others. It’s light, yet rich in sound and very easy to love.

Alas, it’s downhill from there – the savagery returns on “Deep Sleeper” and by the time we hit “Cast Away” you’re unlikely to be captivated enough by the custom tirade of grunt-riff-perky clean vocals-noise to be anything other than jaded. Especially at this stage of the record, the lack of invention shows painfully. “Redeemer” and “Revelations” have their moments – the latter in particular brings the gritty metallic goodness, perks it up with the odd squealing solo, and throws in some gang vocals to pad out the grunting – but it’s all a little too blasé and unimaginative to really take your breath away.

This is, really, a shame – the music is very well put together and the singing accomplished for the most part, but there’s no effort put into distinguishing the songs or affording them a real sense of individual identity. As a result, this all converges into one consistent cluster of noise, heaving with attitude and intent but not catching fire the way it aims to. With a little more attention to detail, Serianna have all the basic ingredients to excel, and Inheritors is a decent step on the way – just don’t expect it to burn a searing hole in your conscience.

Score: 6/10
Review written by: Grace Duffy

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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