Sea in the Sky – Serenity

6 Production
8 Mood
8 Instrumentation
8 Composition

Sea in the Sky are a young band from the States who bring us their first full length “Serenity”. On their Facebook profile they state: “We’re just trying to play some heavy and groovy instrumental music!” and they’re doing it darn well for a few guys who are only trying!

The number of instrumental metal fusion bands seems to have expanded slowly but steadily over the past few years and “Serenity” will most likely be this year’s latest addition to the genre. Its blue-clad cover art and the album’s title are truly a deception, for this can hardly be called the genres most serene record we’ve seen so far.

The eight songs stand lightly on their feet, and fly by like petits morceaux; though they are not at all simple-minded and swiftly forgotten. They are playful like young spirits of nature, dancing on vast and winding waves of freshly mown grass, like soft gusts of wind that gently tickle your heels into running action.

RELEASE DATE: 27 December 2014 LABEL: Self-Released 

The half hour that “Serenity” comprises is filled with memorable riffs, happy melodies running around, and grooves that roll like the drumming of a pony’s hoofs – light and tickling softly, the loose sand that covers the ground. Video game epic “Tamagotchi” has already left a mark on our minds as being a delight of a song to listen to, yet “Serenity” contains so much more than that. The band’s softer side already rears its head on the succeeding song, “Tread Lightly”, whose gentle guitar intro is a tender moment of soothing perfection. Throughout the album this musical elegance shows up regularity, but sparsely, as the California quartet is always jumping right back into the grit, joyously launching into yet another glorious melody.

The risk of reviewing the debuts of young bands is running into the phenomenon of average production, and “Serenity” is not exempt from this malediction. The overall sound of the album is quite wooly and even though the lead guitars mostly cut through this haze with ease, there are times where this doesn’t happen, for example near the end of the title-track, where a melody worthy of ending the album, is drowned out by heavy guitars and drumming. Moreover, when Sea in the Sky resort to vigorous pace shifting or intense blast beating, the sound of the music all of a sudden becomes really dense and fluffy and a lot of the serious playing talent that is curbed in this band is lost in the resulting discord between individual instruments.

However, I find that – like a few terrific bands have already shown this year – Sea in the Sky have still created an album that may be listened to and enjoyed, without a doubt. The songs are fun and memorable, the energy fresh and the musicianship is apt and well-appreciated.

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