I have a confession to make…
At first, Serious Black turnd my attention just because of Urban breed. Everything this man touches simply turns to gold. First time I had a chance to hear one of the best metal vocals in Belgrade, Serbia, when Bloodbound played as support band to Hammer Fall on Threshold tour. Than, in November 2016 I took 380km long road to Budapest to hear Gamma Ray at Best of the Best Party Tour. Serious Black was support band. I met Urban breed after their show, than I travelled to Sofia, Bulgaria, in December and met guitar player of Project Arcadia (Urban breed participated at “A Time of Changes” album (I hope cooperation with Project Arcadia will continue), and in this year I interviewed Mario Lochert. The mirror broke I guess, since I will miss their concert in Budapest this year due health issues. I guess you have to pay for your sins at some point.
Now, let’s be serious. For the ones who don’t know, the whole idea of Supergorup was born at Ripollet Rock Festival in Spain, 2013. Next year, band started working on their first album “As Daylight Breaks”. Before the first tour started, it was announced that Roland Grapow and Thomen Stauch can not participate. Band find replacement, and tour with Hammer Fall started in early 2015. As I mentioned, they shared stage with Gamma Ray at the Best of the Best Party Tour.
Serious Black are:
Mario Lochert – bass
Urban breed – vocals
Dominik Sabastian – guitars
Jan Vacik – keyboards
Bob Katsionis – guitars
Alex Holzwarth – drumms
If you had no idea why they are called the Supergroup, now you will find out.
Mario Lochert played with Visions of Atlantis, now he is is Emergency Gate paralel with Serious Black.
Urban breed has long history in Bloodbound, Dark Empire, Pyramaze, Tad Morose, Trail of Murder, Project Arcadia and Serious Black.
Dominik Sabastian played in Mortus and Scargod. Besides Serious Black he is angaged in Edenbridge, Shadows’ Grey and Thirdmoon.
Jan Vacik is the best known as Dreamscape keyboardist.
Alex Holzwarth is drummer of Rhapsody of Fire and Timo Tolkki’s Avalon (ex Avantasia, Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody, Sieges Even).
And Bob Katsionis… Where to start? Greek God of metal. Man who plays both guitar and keyboards damn good. I will just mention that he is the only musician who ever won the same category “Best Keyboardist” in Greek Metal Hammer’s Annual Readers’ Polls for 5 years in a row (2006–2011). He currently plays in Firewind an Outloud. In the past he was in bands such as Revolution Renaissance, Nightfall, Septic Flesh… Besides, he produced over than 90 videos since 2002.
Former band members are Roland Grapow (legendary Helloween guitarist) and Thomen Stauch (also legendary drummer of Blind Guardian and Iron Savior).
I am so sorry if I missed some of their projects, which I did. I wanted to focus at most important bands they played, at least the most recognizable to average metal fan.
I adored “As Daylight Breaks” and I expected “Mirrorworld” will go at the same direction. After first hearing my only thought was: at “As Daylight Breaks” they spread wings, at “Mirrorworld” the wings are broken. That is usually happening when you expect too much, but… Let’s hear it again, and again… And hell, yeah! This is great album.
Journey to “Mirrorworld” begins with “Breaking the Surface” intro. Kind of dramatic, orchestral and still I have no idea does it really introduces you to the album properly. It leads us to expoding “As Long as I’m Alive”, which was released as first single from the album earlier this year. I enjoyed this song from the first moment I heard it. “Castor Skies”, 2ed single fulfills album with harmony, and next “Heartbroken Soul” is sung the way it really breaks your soul. “Dying Hearts” again buys me with beautiful voice which weeps in sorrow. Some people I know like to say this kind of songs are girl metal songs (whatever that means to them), but I am 100% sure there are guys who will like it too. The beginning of “You’re Not Alone” desperately reminds me on Kai Hansen style. But, I am in metal 27 years, so everything reminds me on something. Than we come to title track “Mirrorworld”. Amazing melody and here I can finally hear Urban’s voice I know and I love. “State of My Despair” and “The Unborn Never Die” are classic Serious Black songs if I may use this statement after only one album.
Bonus tracks: “Emotional Blackmail”, “The Life That You Want”, “The Machine Is Broken”, “Hello Moon”, “Goodbye My Angel”. I will not write anything about those songs, I will ask you to go and buy your own digipak.
Production is crystal clear, the band experimented with modern elements, but they mixed it all well together. Experience it is!
Supergroups usually are not touring, but these guys are serious, so if you have possibility to hear them live, trust me, you won’t make mistake. If you think they sound great at recordings, live they are 10 times better. Not just the way they play (and they are virtuosos), but the way they interact with fans, the way they respect fans, and the most important, they enjoy being on stage, they are passionate and dedicated to the band.
Do not let the band name full you, with Serious Black on stage you will experience real fun.