Review 2130 : Fall of Serenity – Open Wide, O Hell – English

Fall of Serenity is back with a vengeance.

Formed in 1995 (under the name Contrition) the band is active between 1998 and 2009. Now comprising Eddy Langner (guitar, Kill the Lord), John Gahlert (vocals, Extermination Order, ex-Deadlock), Eik Halle (bass, Kali Yuga), Werner Riedl (drums, Deadlock, Aspar) and Ferdinand Rewicki (guitar, Deadlock) it has ended the wait with the release of Open Wide, O Hell, its fifth album, on Lifeforce Records.

The album kicks off in pure fury with Thy Pathway, a solid composition of macabre scathing sounds topped by possessed howls. Black influences darken the devastating Death Metal, while sharp melodies create an oppressive atmosphere, as on the energetic Darkness, I Command, where majestic sounds contrast with the extremely aggressive vocal parts. The heady final leads into the melancholic I Don’t Expect I Shall Return, which in turn blazes away with epic melodies that the band skilfully sows over a catchy rhythm. The musicians follows up with Wastelands, a more restrained track that lets double kick drive the composition of jerky riffs and Doom-scented leads that struggle to soothe, especially on the final explosion, before granting us a salutary respite with I, the album’s first gentle interlude. It’s a short-lived one, however, quickly giving way to Chaos Reign, with its heaviness and ominous harmonics that literally haunt the track and set the pace before A Winter Song takes a more raw approach, offering us a dose of coldness coupled with almost joyful guitars, as well as a mysterious break before the final hurricane. We have a fix of Thrash-tinged groove on To Tear the Flesh, but it’s also with misty dissonance that the band weaves its composition, mixing energy and calmer tones before …But Grim Will Follow leads us down the path of war, with a martial rhythm that’s somewhere between Black and Death Metal. The relentless advance is tempered by a few more haunting passages, leading into II, the second and final interlude, where an ominous horn announces I Am the End, the last composition, which gets off to a slow start and offers a very different sound to the previous tracks, particularly in terms of the vocals, amplifying the apocalypse we’ll be witnessing right up to the last second.

Fall of Serenity emerges from its torpor to darken with Open Wide, O Hell. The band has always benefited from its dark influences, but it’s with this new album that they are fully exploited, creating a veritable theater of gloom where the musicians express themselves.


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