I have to be kind to Serenity. As it stands, they’re my better half’s favourite band and the odds are on that if I give it a pants score I’m relegated to sleeping on my own sofa for the next month. It’s cheaper than AFM buying a good review, I guess. Luckily for them, I am a giant power metal fairy who picks flowers in the sunlight and dances with rainbows.

While their sophomore effort, Fallen Sanctuary¸ still had a few streaks of uncertainty that were very prevalent in their debut, Death & Legacy is straight forward, no bullshit, power metal. As New Horizons kicks in with it’s anthemic chorus and pounding double kick, it’s clear that Serenity have upped their game and have delivered a solid record, as well as being pretty long at well over an hour. Each of the songs is based on an historical figure, I’ve been told but have long since forgotten who they are, but with the undiluted melodic joy of Far From Home and layered harmonies of Heavenly Mission it’s not all that important.

With no less than three female guest vocalists, including the winner of the ‘I Appear On All Your Favourite Power Metal Albums Award’ for the last ten years Amanda Somerville, it seems that Serenity have all the bases covered. A jagged change from it’s previous track, When The Canvas Starts To Burn sneers through the verses before sweeping into the engimatic chorus is tainted with the spatter of prog that coats an album that is extremely easy to listen to. It’s somewhat confusing that two of the strongest tracks, Youngest Of Widows and To India’s Shores, are left to be bonus tracks, perhaps as a time consideration but Death & Legacy is more a joy to listen to than a marathon slog. The latter, coupled with the finale The Legacy bring the album to a bombastic finish with the harmonised melodies intertwining amidst jilted piano, pounding guitars and wild orchestration.

While it is exceedingly easy for bands to fall into the template of power metal, and Serenity are ‘just’ borrowing ideas from Kamelot at best, Death & Legacy stands out from the crowd purely on it’s songwriting and melodic strengths. It’s better than veterans Stratovarius’ Elysium, and most of what’s been released in 2011 so far.