Austrian five-piece Serenity are bringing their symphonic metal and live choirs to the UK to promote third album Death and Legacy. Music News caught up with keyboardist and backing vocalist Mario Hirzinger, pictured far left, who was in Germany looking ahead to the band’s imminent UK shows with fellow melodic metallers Delain.

Music News: Your current album, Death and Legacy, is about historical figures. What inspired this concept?

Mario Hirzinger: It’s better to ask who inspired the concept. It was our singer, Georg, who studied history and geography, and guitarist Thomas' idea. They, along with the rest of the band, are very interested in historical novels, movies and stuff like that and thought a lyrical background in this vein could be a perfect addition to our symphonic sound. And we think it works well.

MN: Guitarist Thomas Buchberger has been quoted as saying the songwriting for this album was a challenge. Why was that?

Mario: I can easily understand Thomas saying so! The new album would have to somehow compete with [album predecessor] Fallen Sanctuary and its strong songs, and considering this, Tom wanted to write his best songs ever. So he had some hard times in his little home studio working on riffs, melodies and song parts. So let's say the level of quality control was quite high. But in the end we were very satisfied with the outcome – and it was not only us but our orchestra producer, Oliver Philipps, who is always asking for high quality demo songs to start orchestra programming with them.

MN: Would you say this record is educational – a lesson in history?

Mario: At least you can see it as an entertaining, less-facts-more-emotions history lesson! Maybe with this we are able to draw some listeners’ attention to historical figures he or she may have missed hearing about. Maybe some people will discover a new approach to a figure already known. Either way, we are happy if the fans appreciate the lyrical work we did for these songs to make them ‘come alive’.

MN: You called upon three guest vocalists - Charlotte Wessels (Delain), Ailyn (Sirenia) and Amanda Sommerville - for the record. How did you choose these?

Mario: We got to know Amanda and Charlotte on the 2009 Kamelot tour and Georg talked to them about a probable future collaboration because we liked their voices a lot. Ailyn visited us at our concert in Granada in 2007 and became a fan of us. Later on, when she was already singing with Sirenia, Georg contacted her (we were already My Space friends at that time) and asked if she was interested in doing guest vocals for us. She was crazy about that and immediately said yes. I guess all three girls had fun recording their parts and every one of them added some unique vibes to our tunes, which we are very proud of now.

MN: The limited edition of Death and Legacy has now sold out. How does this make you feel?

Mario: It really feels great because we could not achieve that within the same amount of time with the release of the last album. So it seems we're growing somehow and the feedback on the work we do is getting better.

MN: You welcomed Fabio D'Amore on bass last year. How has your line-up change influenced the band?

Mario: In a very positive way, I'd say. Of course we were sad at first when Simon [Holzknecht, ex-bassist] told us about his decision to leave the band, but just a few days later we had a very experienced bass player and singer among our team. We finally knew we had chosen the right person when we first met in the rehearsal room and Mr D'Amore performed the songs as though he’d been in the band for several years!

MN: You’re on a European tour right now. How’s it going?

Mario: We are very satisfied so far. Apart from some technical/stage problems in some venues, it really was fun with the girls and guys in the other bands, and the audiences were great. In a few hours we'll be heading to Holland and later on to the UK. The first show will be in Manchester tomorrow [Friday 29 April] and we can't wait to be back in Great Britain where we always had fun times!

MN: You’ve been keeping yourself amused listening to music and watching You Tube clips – any recommendations?

Mario: At the moment, I really love to listen to Dredg’s albums and I'm looking forward to the new one. The latest Seventh Wonder album is also amazing; the new Evergrey CD as well. As for internet video clips, I prefer watching funny stuff like Family Guy or Austrian comedians; of course I also watch recent metal videos or snippets of live recordings that I don't own on DVD. But I normally don't really spend a lot of time browsing the web.

MN: What can fans expect from the UK shows?

Mario: We'll deliver a lot of new songs – surprise! The new, more symphonic material is a blast to listen to live, I guess. The choirs will fascinate the audience because Fabio can do the highest voice, which makes our vocal sensation complete. We also have some new stage design elements with us; hopefully we'll be able to present it on stage every evening. To sum it up, expect some high quality, Austrian, symphonic metal with massive hook lines!

Death and Legacy is out on Napalm Records
Serenity are on tour now
More info

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