Cea Serin -
The Vibrant Sound Of Bliss And Decay

(CD 2014, 47:48 Generation Prog Records GENPRCD006 )

The tracks:
  1- Holy Mother(7:08)
  2- The Illumination Mask(7:49)
  3- Ice(4:55)
  4- The Victim Cult(7:58)
  5- What Falls Away(20:00)

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It has been a while since we have heard from the US band Cea Serin. To be exact, ten years have passed since the release of When Memories Combine; Cea Serin's debut album. Now a successor has seen the light of day, after the band was picked up by German label Generation Prog. Basically the band is the brainchild of vocalist, bass player and keyboardist Jay Lamm, who is joined by guitarist Keith Warman and more recently by drummer Rory Faciane.

So,.. Ten years in the making, let's find out if the time has worked for The Vibrant Sound Of Bliss And Decay. When I start listening to the music, my first impression is that I am listening to a power metal band that has its roots in the nineties. OK, it seems I have a point there, for the song Holy Mother is a revitalized demo from the end of the last decade, at points interesting, referring to Fates Warning in the melodic parts, where a normal voice is used. When the vocals take a turn towards a sort of screaming, I do have my doubts. Another thing that comes up is the sound of the drums, Rory has replaced the machine they had used before, but the drums still sounds like a machine during this composition. When the album continues, we find out The Illumination Mask is also the re-recording of a demo from another century. Again metal blended with power metal in a style bands that Angra or Rhapsody are famous for, but not really up to their standards. The instrumental parts are quite interesting, but here the staccato monotone guitar riff , Helloween style or perhaps it's the disturbing drum sound that does not do the trick for me. The guitar solos on the other hand are very tasteful. Ice is something different on the album, this time not a demo, but a cover. Sarah Mclachlan's composition is strongly based on cool piano and relaxed percussion. Jay's voice actually perfectly suits to this composition and the acoustic guitar solo ices the song. A brand new track is next, The Victim Cult is more epic style and regarding the previous two powerful songs, more up to date. This has a more modern song structure and a combination of Jay's Ray Alder/Geoff Tate referring voice and a more screaming style, which I still find hard to appreciate. Up until now this is the most promising composition on the album, but there is still one to go, a true epic that lasts twenty minutes. What Falls Away opens quietly with a piano and very strong vocals. Gently the power increases and a cool guitar part, mixed with bass impresses me. The following mid-section has these Devin Townsend referring vocals again. The difference is, when Devin sings I really love them, here I just tolerate. Towards the end the song shifts from heavy back to the opening piano, which closes the circle of this composition.

So, it took ten years to release this album-an album that still, after numerous listens, gives me mixed feelings. Some instrumental parts I like, other parts I think are dated. At some points Jay Lamm shows his beautiful voice, during other sections I wished he would use a different vocalist for the brutal vocals part. The compositions are fine, but the overall sound could be better.

See you in ten years?

***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)

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