2. Hound from hell
3. Until my last breath
4. Hunt between fallen
5. I failed
6. In equilibrium
7. My Legacy
8. Lose my Mind
9. Face to face
10. No more fear
11. The hero we don’t deserve
Band Lineup: Steve “Serpent” Fabry – Bass and vocals Yannick Martin – Drummer Florian Hardy – Guitar
Sercati are a Melodic Black Metal band from Belgium, and 2014 see’s them release “The Rise Of the Nightstalker (Tales from the Fall Pt.2)”; which has been released through Grom records.
The opening track is a spoken piece which acts as a foreword setting the story and the tone of the album. The cheese is laid on thick at this point, which is by no means a negative thing, as it certainly draws you into the mindset of the album to come. The story is presented to you with a rich organ and strings piece beautifully played underneath it, which works very well as the foundation to the story. The organ and string piece seems to induce a sense of floating, which works well with the story; enhancing the mood with a sense of wonderment and suspension.
At three minutes and seventeen seconds it’s a lengthy intro, thankfully the intro does draw you in quite well which offsets this factor to a degree. Though discretion is the better part of valour and a shorter intro I feel would by no means diminish the intro. Toward the two minute mark you are chomping at the bit to really dig into the bulk of this album’s songs.
The second song starts with quirky string piece and launches into distorted guitars that build up the song briefly into the vocal section. The song really hints to how the whole album will be presented to you; also the execution as well as the feel of the songs. It is half way through this song that the dungeon synths on the album reminded me fondly of early Super Nintendo game sound tracks.
The third song , until my last breath, is a catchy affair with a beautifully engaging intro. As the song progresses it could be considered, in the vanity of, as the anthem of the album with a catchy and melodic chorus.
The fourth song brings some clean vocals to the table and sadly is the only instance of clean vocals on the album. The vocals do bring a sorely needed diversity to the vocal range, implemented upon the album.
The album carries on in strong fashion retaining the catchy guitar riffage and vocals until the sixth song “In equilibrium” which is an acoustic track that acts as a welcome warm breather that reminds me of the melancholic energy of Metallica’s Unforgiven.
The next song ”My Legacy” is somewhat subdued in comparison to previous heavier tracks. It starts with a bass and synths intro which gives the bass an opportunity to shine which thus far has not been particularly prominent. The guitars are restrained, yet are played beautifully with quirky soaring melodies.
After “My Legacy”, the track “Lose my mind” is for the most part subdued like “My Legacy”. The track ends with a well composed dense wall of sound. This works very well as an end to the song, which eventually fades out slowly.
Track nine “Face to Face” starts with a quirky guitar intro playing away on its own, this sets the song up as a fast and aggressive customer. There are some slower dynamics in the song, that works well as a way to create a breather before the song crashes back in; certainly upping the anticipation and head nod-ability of the track. The song has a very Viking/Pirate metal feel to it which really works well overall with the sound of the album and isn’t alien enough to make it stand out like a sore thumb.
The track “No More Fear” is certainly the densest song on the album and comes across as a more traditional black metal song, with a tint of almost depressive elements to it; including a slow doom metal style breakdown. The guitars are still very much played in the style and sense of previous songs which allows it sit comfortably. If anything this song shows the band can diversify their sound a bit more.
The last song starts with a news report which would easily lead someone on to believe they would finish the album on an aggressive and fast note however the song proceeds into a slow ballad like fashion. The guitar riffs are fluttering with a catchy staccato chord progression. Only to slow down to bring in the vocals. The songs ends with another spoken piece. This song neatly ties up a generally well played and catchy album. Afterwards I certainly felt like I could go for another round on this album and after listening to it for a third time I felt I uncovered more and more about it.
The guitars are played very well also with quite complex demands on timing and execution the guitars certainly deliver with almost folk like style and feel at times. And are heavy and dark at other times which works well in contrast to the folk feel of some guitar riffs. There are some great grooves also which entice you to nod away gleefully. The solo’s work very well with the style of music; soaring through the music with precision and grace.
The vocals were consistent, in a gurgling style, which brings a black metal element to the music. For me the vocals were a sticking point though. The vocal style works well during the melodic nuances of the album however when the songs became heavier the vocals seemed lacking. Also a lack of range in the vocals make them feel boring and uninteresting at times. I would not consider this a Black Metal album, it is more akin to operatic, viking or symphonic metal. The production values of this album are not traditionally Black Metal album as they are very good. Everything is clear and concise with no roughness in quality.
Sercati, however do not short change you on the melodic and they certainly deliver in droves great catchy melodies.
Overall, the contrasts and dynamics in the songs really keeps the album varied and fresh. The album engages you with catchy guitars and synths, that are well played and beautifully composed to work in harmony with each other. The bass very much takes a back seat for much of this album however it is allowed to shine at times. The drums are played very well throughout and in time with appropriate patterns for the parts.
The album is catchy, fun to listen to with some diversity and changes to how the songs are composed. It is well played with good production values. The album tells a great fantastical story, which brings back a nostalgic feeling, you used to get with old metal vinyl album releases. Certainly one I would enjoy listening to over and over.
Review by Ash Walker