Formed in 2009 with debut record Wandering Through Sorrow under their belts, Italian symphonic new blood Serenade changed direction, sound and band members straying from an early gothic sound to a heavier, progressive thrash feel.
Sophomore release Onirica has the hallmarks of the symphonic greats, bombastic sounds, grandiose guitars and the searing, stirring soprano delivery of vocalist Claudia Layline.
Onirica, the feminine version of the Italian word for dream-like, places Layline in the role of alluring dream-weaver and audible songstress pulling listeners in with mystical and hypnotic lyrics.
Though the album has soft classical moments Layline’s voice could pile-drive an impression into the ear as much as any riff. Tracks “Kill Your Pain” and “Luceafarul” also feature guest vocals from Fabio Dessi (Arthemis) and they’ve also cranked out a video for “Hold Me Back.”
Mirroring elements and influence from Nightwish, Evanescence and even moments of Maiden fused guitar interplay, string shakers and drummer Filippo, Alberto, Dario and Leonardo make the record pleasantly addictive and heavy on the ear. You can also hear Layline’s guest vocals on Hollow Haze’s Memories of an Ancient Time album.
“Insomnia” starts out with its spooky Victorian intro prickling the ear with a touch of bombast, lament and triumph. Layline’s voice soars hitting majestic peaks barely two minutes in.
“When Darkness Will Fall” opens hard placing an instant memory stamp on the parietal lobe. “Kill Your Pain” turns up the emotion, with guitar strings weeping tears of blood.
Mythology and music mix as The Father of the Waters reigns over the seas on “Oceanus.” Guitars play hard through the rapids and depths, keeping the secrets of what’s buried far beneath.
“Luceafarul” is the albums epic track, clocking in at over eight minutes, preaching an epic poetic lullaby of the morning star with guitars charging the story forward.
“Stormborn” goes sombre and ballad-like with piano and player in an empty room, or the rain. “Sleeping Dream” starts with inviting folk-scented acoustics entering guitars, book ended by acoustic narrative.
The band recently played three October gigs with electro-rockers Smash Into Pieces and will play January 6 at the Daiquiri Lounge Cafe in Castel d’Ario. Onirica is a worthy addition to any Euro symphonic collection.