The Czech Republic's Sebastien has gone through many trials, including band name and personnel changes over 10 years, to get to their release of their debut album Tears of White Roses. Yet with the strength of label Escape Music behind them and the enthusiastic support of Roland Grapow (Masterplan, ex-Helloween), Sebastien should be on the cusp of greatness. A strong supporting cast in the studio doesn't hurt either. Participants include Amanda Somerville (Avantasia, Aina, Kiske/Somerville), Apollo Papathanasio (Firewind, Spiritual Beggars), Doogie White (Cornerstone, ex-Rainbow, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen), Fabio Lione (Rhapsody Of Fire, Vision Divine), Mike DiMeo (The Lizards, ex-Riot, ex-Masterplan), Roland Grapow (Masterplan, ex-Helloween), and Tore Moren (Jorn).
With all this going for them you would expect Tears of White Roses to pretty damn fantastic, and you would be right. Solid songs, based upon the poetry of fellow Czech Jan Petricko, are carried along by the passionate vocals of George Rain, and the strong performances of band members and guests. The songs can be blistering like Phoenix Rising, effortlessly melodic and catchy like Femme Fatale, or powerful and epic like Remiel in Flames. Considering the fundamental melodic heavy/power metal base, and the participants involved, you could also expect some inherent redundancy. But Sebastien defeats that proposition thanks to the diverse use of essential melodic metal elements for each compositions. No doubt, George Rain and Andy Mons's arrangements and the influence of Grapow makes the difference here. Sebastien's Tears of White Roses is strong debut, equally impressive and entertaining, of melodic heavy metal from this Czech band. Strongly recommended.