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Akacia The Brass Serpent album cover
3.23 | 40 ratings | 4 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Postmodernity (8:47)
2. The Brass Serpent (36:15)
3. Olivet (7:26)
4. The Grace Of God (5:33)

Total Time: 58:01

Line-up / Musicians

- Eric Naylor / lead & backing vocals
- Michael Tenenbaum / guitars, keyboards, lead & backing vocals
- David Stratton / keyboards
- Steve Stortz / bass, backing vocals
- Doug Meadows / drums, percussion, backing vocals

- Mark Rabuck / synth cello, backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Jonathan Allen Cummings

CD Musea ‎- FGBG 4581.AR (2005, France)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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AKACIA The Brass Serpent ratings distribution

(40 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

AKACIA The Brass Serpent reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Look at this album, it's the virgin land, overlooked by many (who goes after first or third album) with just one review. And no collaborator reviewed it yet, so I'm more or less the first here. Well, this is Symphonic Prog Rock. This can't be anything else and yes, you will feel that you've heard this before. When band is relatively small and releases just few albums (Crucible, I'm talking about you) and/or boast openly about influences by Yes, ELP, Genesis (holy trinity I suppose, it seems like that, but don't take me bad, I like two of these groups and third one I don't know). Great guitar/keyboard solos and (as Mike Portnoy once said), fu_c_kin epic The Brass Serpent.

But wait a minute. When I listen to this album, I always forgot one especially tricky part of this song. The exact middle ("Oh sweet longing..."), which sounds a little bit like Kansas vocals, before turning into more " 'eavy " stuff with more "rock" solo. Never mind it, that doesn't matter much, as it not only fits in, but it also shines. Sounds like late Beardfish at times though (but just for periods of 2-5 seconds, so you'll maybe not even notice).

I once heard Magma (yes, this Zeuhl band) element, but just for 250 milliseconds, so if you haven't noticed previous influence, you'll probably not find this too. Hehe, just joking, this ain't good old Zuhle (sorry, Zeuhl), this is less serious stuff, even also less fun (huh ? how's that possible). This is Symphonic, seriously Symphonic and ready to kill.

Actually not, because there's one problem with this music. I don't care about "I've heard this before", because I can find something good on most of the things in life. Even music. It takes very special album to totally disgust me. This isn't the case, but the problem is in power. They simply don't have it, these songs sound weak. Voice is not strong enough, guitars are not trying enough, keyboards are not making needed effort.

4(-), sometimes it's too weak to enjoy it, but mostly it's good album.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Akacia is almost an unknown symphonic prog band coming from USA. They released so far three album, this is their second one from 2005 named The brass serpent. To tell the truth I needed more then 3 spins to fully get into this album, because their music is complex, lots of changing moods, from mellow ones to bursting kybords parts. The album has only 4 pieces, but one of them, the title track is clocking around 37 min of greatness and special atmosphere.The opening track Postmodernit is wise chosen to open the album for the listner to realise that they mean bussines in this field, is a 9 min long piece where symphonic elements are at the highest level. Everything is well done on this release from the voice, maybe sometimes to mellow for my taste for such music, remind me of all those Spock Beard kinda voices aproch but not bad at all to the brilliant instrumental passages. The longest piece from here is a real journey through all bands most inventive momets, from blistering key passages, intristing guitar works to a much mellower moments to gibe to the piece a certain atmosphere. Well done album, quite complex in moods and progressive elements. Akacia is to little known in prog circles, noticed from low number of reviews and some of them with a low rate, quite contrary to me they are a great band, and specialy this album is desearved to be more known by wider public. 4 stars easy one of the pleasent album listened by me lately.
Review by CCVP
1 stars Boring gospel music disguised as progressive rock

You know, progressive rock isn't e very large genre within the music business and many bands remain unknown in spite of being great musicians, impressive composers, innovative and surprising (in the sense that the music they play twists and turns in unexpected ways). In other words, many bands have no recognition at all despite having all the good qualities it would take to be a successful artist. Some others, however, deserve that lack of recognition. That's the case of Akacia; this may be seen as a bit harsh from my part, but I digress.

However, before I start pointing the reasons why this album is not good, I feel that I need to establish some premises:

First of all, I have come in contact with this band for the first time listening to this album (the band's best rated album here in ProgArchives, and I do not own neither have listened to any of their other works, so I will limit my comments to this album alone), so I had no bias, either positive or negative, towards them, let me make that clear.

Second of all, I do not dislike Christian music. I am a practicing Roman Catholic myself, have a love for Gregorian chant and enjoy Neal Morse's (progressive rock) solo releases quite a lot as well as Glass Hammer (whose work has some Christian undertones to it).

Third of all, I do not have a bias against small, unknown or underground progressive rock bands neither against symphonic prog. In fact, many of the bands I love ARE small symphonic bands. Just as a mean to exemplify that, I can recall from the top of my head bands such as Ars Nova, Trimvirat, Glass Hammer, Tempus Fugit, Bacamarte and Saecula Saeculorum.

Now that all those things have been put aside, allow me to explain why this album is greatly disappointing.

Starting off with the most important thing when it comes to progressive rock, the music, not all of it is terrible, but most of it is. In an album clocking well over the 50 minutes and having an epic with more than 35 minutes, I believe that it is very bad thing when the album's only good parts are the fist song and the epic's first 4 minutes. Yes, the epic is not the album's most impressive part, in fact it is quite bad because of how sloppily it is put together. The music does not develops, one idea does not transforms into another, but, instead, it seems that the bad has just glued together many musical ideas that they had, but were not good nor long enough to be a single song. I must admit that the opening theme (that comes back around the 35 or 36 minute mark in order to give the idea that the song is not just different and unrelated melodies put together) is very good, but since it does not last for the whole song . . .

Also, if the musical ideas were good they could make the song sound somewhat good, even if they were disjointedly put together. That is also not the case. The melodies they portray in The Brass Serpent (the album) are, for the most part, quite generic and lacked soul and personality.

To make it ever better, the closing song isn't even progressive rock, it is just a plain gospel tune with some occasional good instrumental parts! Frankly, the only thing that holds this album together and keeps it from being a complete waste after the Postmodernity has ended is the third song, Olivet, which, ironically, has themes from the opening song; they both end in the exact same way, even the lyrics are same!

The lyrics aren't quite bright as well. The whole album revolves lyrically around preaching the word of God. Again, nothing wrong with that, but I have the opinion that these things have a proper time and place where you can actually meditate and think about it. That is completely incompatible with rock and pop music in general. Quoting the Holy Bible in their lyrics also does not help a single bit. Actually, even before I started listening to The Brass Serpent, when I first unpacked it and started to browse the booklet, it was the lyrics that first made me realize something was bound to go wrong with this album.

Rating and Final Thoughts

So, an album with bad music, bad lyrics and that tries and preaches the word of God, quoting the Bible instead of delivering quality progressive rock. What other grade I could give Akacia's second release besides the single star?

Latest members reviews

4 stars The Brass Serpent is an excellent Sophomore effort from Akacia. The first track, Postmodernit,y is a wonderfully structured peice with clever lyrics and a catchy hook. The almost 40 minute title track is the star of the album. While The Brass Serpent is more of a suite than a single continuous ... (read more)

Report this review (#35012) | Posted by Gaspy Conana | Monday, May 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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