It's been 10 years since the debut album by Louisiana-based band Cea Serin. Apparently, "The Vibrant Sound of Bliss and Decay" was supposed to be a stop-gap album between the debut and their second record. Finally, the band has released it, and it's a mix of old and new tracks. When I listened to it, I didn't read anything on the band at all (I hadn't heard of them, to be honest) so I could get a completely fresh view. I did notice a difference between the first part of the album and the last; this makes it quite obvious which are older tracks versus new.
The first two songs, "Holy Mother" and "The Illumination Mask," are a mix of Iced Earth progressive thrash with a dash of Pain of Salvation. Vocalist Jay Lamm (who also plays a lot of the instruments) can really sing. He switches between a powerful clean vocal and a menacing harsh vocal. The change in the album happens on "Ice," which is a Sarah McLachlan cover (news to me, since I'm not a fan of hers). When I listened to the song, it sounded more like Pain of Salvation than anything else. There's nothing wrong with that, but when a band does a cover, it's odd for them to sound so much like ANOTHER band doing the cover.
The last two tracks are newer ones, with the final piece being a massive 20-minute epic, "What Falls Away." It's hard to do a progressive-metal 20-minute epic and NOT sound like Dream Theater and certainly Cea Serin does that a bit on this track. The Pain of Salvation influence is also quite present on the song; it has a similar arrangement in spots as "Ice."
All in all, the album is solid but a bit of a mixed bag. I suppose that was the intention since they combined songs from different years. The band can absolutely play and all the arrangements are tight. I'll be interested to see where the band goes and if they develop a style that's more their own.