FALL OF SERENITY, Grey Man’s Requiem (2001, Voice of Life)
Pretty crappy design choices here. First, all that damn brown. Of course, brown as the “new black” was just gathering steam in 2001, so we’ll give them a pass on that. [Note: the image here looks more reddish-brown than the brownish-brown one my review is based on.] But the skull itself — could those four gold horn-type things on its forehead looks less attached to the forehead? They seem to just sort of float there, as if they’re implied. They’re definitely not actually affixed, in which case they’ve got no business hanging around. Horns are serious business! Same with those silver-y jaw-horns or whatever the fuck. And I’m not going to bother wagering a guess as to what all the other bony, horny junk is behind him. It’s actually nothing, really, just a mass of random stuff that looked cool at the time to whoever designed this thing on his lunch break. The poor skull itself kind of gets lost amidst all this horny brown nonsense.
After being inundated with a ton of average average black metal, average death/thrash/black metal, and average thrash metal (and above-average in the case of Mad Maze, skull358), it’s almost refreshing to get back to some good old Swedish melodic death metal from Germany. Almost. One thing’s for sure: Germans do love them some In Flames. Remember Night In Gales? And Fall Of Serenity do it just like that, and they do it well enough, offering a style somewhere between Whoracle and Clayman-era In Flames. Of course, there is absolutely nothing original going on throughout Grey Man’s Requiem, it plays on the same old SMDM characteristics you’ve heard reeled off by countless bands through the years. But if you keep your standards low and cannot get enough of this stuff, you could do worse. It’s just what I’d expect out of a horn-laden gold skull in a field of brown, from Germany, circa 2001.
— Friar Wagner