Austrian progressive power metal band Serenity have been making enormous waves in the underground metal scene since their original demo in 2002, and were quickly picked up by well known Austrian metal label Napalm Records. With two critically acclaimed under their belts since signing, their newest release Death and Legacy, continues their rapid ascent to the top tiers of modern heavy metal. Powerline AD would like to welcome Thomas Buchberger, guitarist and main composer of Serenity.
Powerline: Would you please give the readers a quick overview of what Serenity is all about?
Thomas Buchberger: Serenity is an Austrian symphonic metal band in the style of Nightwish, Kamelot, Sonata Arctica,… but of course with own trademarks and a very unique sound. We are always eager to get the best possible, high end result for all our products from album songs, artworks to live performances and so on. So we think you could call it a mixture of melodic metal with clean male voices, great riffings, huge hollywood blockbuster style scores,…
Fallen Sanctuary was one of my top albums of 2008. It had what seemed like all the right elements of a perfect power metal album, epic, grandiose, and very well received critically. How did you guys approach writing the new album with such a lofty predecessor to live up to?
Buchberger: We just took the time that was needed to write and record an album that is different to Fallen Sanctuary, able to lift the overall quality and bring the band further on. So we had a lot of discussions within the band what direction we would like to go and we simply tried to improve our strong parts and dismiss everything we are not that good at. So for example growls have been dismissed and melodies took over the lead. The songwriting in the end was quite the same as always. And we really think that this album will be hard to beat in our future!!!
Death and Legacy is a concept album about various historical figures across time. How did this theme come to life? What were some of the inspirations behind the particular figures chosen for the album? What kind of research went into writing the lyrics?
Buchberger: Georg studied history at the university of Innsbruck. So he came up with the overall idea to do something dealing with historical stuff. We then decided to write about important or unique historical figures. We had a huge list of interesting people and then did lots of research via internet later on with historic books. So yes, we did lots of research before writing the lyrics.
Death and Legacy features some immense orchestrations and songs that are enormously epic in scale and sound. Lets talk about the approach to song writing taken on this record. How is the writing process divided amongst members?
Buchberger: 80% in the beginning is done by me in my home studio. Later I am always joined by Georg for the work on vocal lines, changing chords, adding parts here and there… So on Death & Legacy you hear Georg and my stuff mainly. Those basic songs already include most of the parts the other members have to play. But of course everybody is free to play those parts with his one vibe and style. I also want to state that this process was totally different for our first 2 albums where we did most of the stuff in the rehearsal room with all ideas from Mario, Georg and me.
Between certain songs on the album are smaller transitional tracks. Lets talk about these segues. Why were they included?
Buchberger: Due to the fact that it is some kind of concept album, we wanted to create a special mood and thought that those interludes would fit the atmosphere of the songs and bring them to live!
Lets talk about the recording process. Did you guys have to spend much time rehearsing the music together? Was it difficult recording the songs compared to previous releases?
Buchberger: For being honest, we did not rehearse a single song together. It was up to each single band member to rehearse the songs the way it was meant to be. The pre-production was the guideline therefor. So in the end all recordings took about 4 months. The orchestration was already finished during pre-production, which made it a lot easier to record the rest of the stuff in time.
The new album features guest vocals Ailyn of Sirenia, Charlotte Wessels of Delain and Amanda Somerville, who is associated with many high profile metal bands. How was it working with these talented vocalists? Did you encounter any problems or was the whole experience pretty smooth? What went into deciding who would guest on which song??
Buchberger: All those female singers were chosen because we just had the right feeling, that their voice would fit Georg and the individual songs. Work in the end was very easy, smooth and uncomplicated on a professional level. I would definitely say we have some new friends now!
Serenity has a rather impressive touring record in Europe, yet has not yet crossed over to the Americas. Do you have any plans on doing so, and what would it take to make that happen?
Buchberger: We always hope to get to the US or other distant places. Disappointingly this was not possible till today. We also hope that this changes in 2012. In the end it is all up to album sales in those areas. If there is a demand to play there it will hopefully be possible. Getting to the USA and doing a tour there is much more expensive for an European band. So it was not possible… not yet 😉
What does the immediate future hold for Serenity? The buzz for this band is absolutely immense.
Buchberger: There are signs that give us the feeling of becoming bigger, more important in this whole metal scene. Still it is much to early to say something about the future. We just hope to have some more great years with some awesome albums and more touring activities. Let’s hope the best!
Any last words/thoughts?
Buchberger: Keep an eye to www.serenity-band.com for all news, touring updates and so on! Hopefully see you soon!
A complete review of Death and Legacy can be found here: http://powerlinead.com/review/0417/serenity-decimates-competition-progre…
Interview by Marc Garrison