“Suite 226” is the fourth full studio album from power metal band Serious Black and it was released on 31st January through AFM Records. After releasing three albums in as many years, the band took almost another three years to release “Suite 226”. This is a concept album focusing on the story of someone being held in padded cell number 226. The track “When The Stars Are Right” was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show in December, followed by “Let Me Go” on 14th February.


Serious Black was formed in 2014 by Mario Lochert the bassist from Emergency Gate (and briefly Visions of Atlantis) and guitarist Roland Grapow from Masterplan (and formerly Helloween). They recruited vocalist Urban Breed (ex Bloodbound and Tad Morose), Edenbridge guitarist Dominik Sebastian, keyboard player Jan Vacik and drummer Thomen Stauch.


That line-up released the debut album “As Daylight Breaks” in 2015. Grapow departed shortly afterwards and there have been a few more changes during the process of releasing “Mirrorworld” in 2016 and “Magic” in 2017. The band also released an acoustic album called “First Light” in 2017 featuring re-recordings of tracks from the earlier albums.

The current line-up features Mario Lochert, Urban Breed and Dominik Sebastian alongside drummer Ramy Ali who joined the band in 2018. The latter had previously played with Justice, Freedom Call and Iron Mask.

The latest release is another concept album. I’ve copied the full explanation from the press release to explain the concept –

'Suite 226' tells a complete narrative of a mentally confused man who is torn between his own dreamworld, reality and evil. The protagonist has been held captive for many years in the dismal, cold padded cell number 226, the inhuman condition of the rotten psychiatry driving him insane. In his imagination he is the mighty king who lives in his feudal castle surrounded by courtesans, good food and wine and commands an invincible army. Staggering between illusion and reality, he continues to be drawn into the maelstrom of madness, his life becomes a ride through purgatory accompanied by demons, anxiety attacks and paranoia.

Check out the band’s Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/seriousblackofficial/


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About “NI Rocks Recommends”

This is purely a personal recommendation and some information about the artist and the album; not a traditional ‘review’. Most of the recommendations posted are for albums that have been sent to us digitally by the record label or promoter. Quite often I’ve also bought the album on CD or vinyl as well and sometimes I just feel the need to post a recommendation for an album that I’ve bought myself. Essentially these are albums that I like and which I’ve played some tracks from on the Shows on Rock Radio NI!


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