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Serpentyne The Serpent's Kiss album cover
3.48 | 4 ratings | 2 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2016

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Spirits of the Desert (4:05)
2. The Dark Queen (5:13)
3. Helen of Troy (5:57)
4. Jeanne d'Arc (5:55)
5. Lammas Night (6:10)
6. The Serpent's Kiss (5:53)
7. Salterello (4:11)
8. Viking Blood (5:43)
9. Brigantia (4:46)
10. Morrighan's Jig (4:23)
11. Game of Thrones (6:19)

Total time: 58:35

Line-up / Musicians

- Maggiebeth Sand / vocals, keyubolards, nyckelharp
- Mark Powell / hurdy-gurdy, guitars
- Matthew Damian / guitars
- Nigel Middleton / bass, vocals
- John Haithwaite / drums, vocals
- Mark Jenkins / keyboards

Releases information

Self released, CD

Thanks to windhawk for the addition
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SERPENTYNE The Serpent's Kiss ratings distribution

(4 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (25%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SERPENTYNE The Serpent's Kiss reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars UK band SERPENTYNE first appeared in 2009, and have established themselves as an active live and recording unit since then. They have three studio albums to their name so far. "The Serpent's Kiss" appeared in 2016, and is the most recent of these.

While I'm not familiar with the material of the first Serpentyne album, their second one was a most charming endeavor exploring music I'd pretty much describe as a folk music version of Ozric Tentacles. While the folk music element is still present as of 2016, Serpentyne have opted to take their folk music inspirations in a rather different direction this time around.

Initially you kind of get the impression that the band wants to take a bite of the symphonic metal market, as the opening cuts in particular with it's bombastic blend of majestic orchestral details, powerful guitars and operatic female lead vocals kind of plays straight into the center of such excursions. But as the rest of the album unfolds, a bit more variety is at hand, even of the orchestral details reappear from time to time.

The greater majority of the material is of a different character however. Folk metal or possibly folk hard rock is how I'd describe these cuts, with theatrical, female lead vocals placed on top of a foundation with a hard rock and metal at the core and a liberal amount of folk-tinged elements present. In vocals, in dominant or subservient motifs or due to various instrument details. With liberal amounts of flavoring from the hurdy gurdy adding a subtly exotic sheen to the proceedings. On occasion electronic elements are added in to provide us with some of the charms also present on their previous album, at other times the band opts to go for more of a straight forward concoction of hard rock with folk music details present one way or the other. Even on the concluding cut, Game of Thrones, the gentle Celtic tinged folk music opening sequences gives way to more of a hard rock founded arrangement after a bit.

Personally I have to admit that I found this band more charming in their previous guise, perhaps due to them exploring a type of music a bit further removed from what many other artists produce. At the same time it's easy to hear that the music on this new CD will have a much broader appeal, even of perhaps not quite as sophisticated nor wild and free in character. Majestic metal with a certain pompous grandeur and theatrical either operatic or semi-operatic female lead vocals is, after all, one of the more popular niche genres present in the genre jungle of music these days. Serpentyne are good at what they do too, there's no question about that. Still, I do hope they will if not revisit then at least include a few more of the charming, untamed folk and electronic blends that was so utterly charming last time around on any future productions.

Those with a strong fascination for bands operating out from a hard rock and heavy metal foundation to create a blend of those styles of music with folk music should find Serpentyne's latest studio album to be well worth spending some time with. A certain fascination for symphonic metal is warranted too, but it is the former and not the latter description that, in my opinion at least, defines this CD.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars One thing is clear about this UK "world prog" band - they don't get into a rut! On their third album they continue to explore middle eastern motifs but shift some of the context to Nordic pomp metal. This infuses higher drama and urgency into their craft, like a somewhat gentler amalgam of EPICA and NIGHTWISH. I think comparisons to more obscure bands like NORDAGUST on "Spirit of the Desert" and THOBY LOTH on "Morrighan's Jig" and the enthralling instrumental closer "Game of Thrones" are justified as well. Still, if the mere titles like "Jeanne D'Arc" don't have you reaching for your ELOY collection, then the principal instrumental riff in "Helen of Troy" will surely trigger long lost reveries of FRANK BORNEMANN's obsession with feminine power.

In spite of the undeniable appeal of the band's ethnic spread, I do feel that some spirit has been lost in execution, resulting in a partially squandered opportunity. While most individual tracks are more than competent and at times even exciting, as a collective work this lacks sufficient conviction of its own identity to mark real progress. While "Myths and Muses" channeled its influences into a fully formed end product, "The Serpent's Kiss" sounds more like a follower, albeit a skilled one whom the leader would be glad to find in their footsteps. Even closer examination of the quasi metallic metamorphosis reveals that chugging rhythm guitar is the main source of the embellishments, which dampens their effect over the course of the end product. This isn't really so different from its predecessor after all, and most of the difference amounts to abstractions and distractions.

Weaknesses aside, this still might be the go-to disk for most prog fans who want to own something by SERPENTYNE, and who enjoy the hitherto forbidden fruits of florid metal with a heart of folk.

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