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Prog Folk • United Kingdom

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Serpentyne biography
SERPENTYNE mixes the medieval, ancient, and contemporary instrumentation and lyrics, layered with a renaissance motifs. The group augments their numerous live performances with period dress and dance for a unique audio and visual experience.

The band was formed by Maggie-Beth Sand (lead singer and multi-instrumentalist) and Mark Powell (guitar, hurdy-gurdy, keyboards) in 2010, and their first album, "Stella Splendens", was released that year. Since then, SERPENTYNE's fusion of traditional and self-penned tunes and songs with rock and DJ grooves has taken them to concert and festival stages of all types, across the UK and mainland Europe.

They have headlined at major festivals such as Montreux, and have played opening slots for artists such as Rick Wakeman and The Orb. 2014 saw the release of their critically-acclaimed second album, "Myths and Muses".

Music press calls SERPENTYNE the UK's premier 'Mythic Rock' band and warmly characterizes their music:
"Turbocharged folk" - Prog magazine, UK.
"A heady mix... think Ozric Tentacles meets the Orb meets Gregorian chant" - Americana, UK.
"The next big thing in folk-rock" - Northwest Folk, UK.

>> Bio by Bob Moore (aka ClemofNazareth) and SERPENTYNE<<

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SERPENTYNE discography

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SERPENTYNE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Stella Splendens
4.95 | 2 ratings
Myths and Muses
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Serpent's Kiss

SERPENTYNE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SERPENTYNE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SERPENTYNE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Serpent's Kiss by SERPENTYNE album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 2 ratings

The Serpent's Kiss
Serpentyne Prog Folk

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.

 Myths and Muses by SERPENTYNE album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.95 | 2 ratings

Myths and Muses
Serpentyne Prog Folk

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars UK band SERPENTYNE was formed back in 2009, and released their debut album "Stella Splendens" the following year. Since then they have been touring extensively in the UK and in Europe, up to and including performing at several festival. "Myths and Muses" is their second studio production, and was released in the summer of 2014.

Serpentyne is among the bands I see classified as neo-folk, a style of music I really don't know all that much about but which I presume are applied to artists that approach folk music in a manner regarded as contemporary or modern. As far as that goes Serpentyne accomplish that with ease, and have managed to create an album that combines the traits of being familiar sounding yet also adding distinct and often dominant traits from the modern world into a folk music context.

There's nothing substantial new about this really, as rock bands have paired of their compositions with folk music and vice versa for many years already, and the classic folk rock is given a slight nod on this production as well. What separates Serpentyne from folk rock bands is that they focus more on pairing off the folk music with electronic instruments, and as such the end result is a tad closer to the likes of, for instance, Ozric Tentacles, but with folk music details and vocals in place of cosmic and psychedelic elements.

Drones and techno inspired rhythms are key features in the landscapes crafted by Serpentyne, creating a compelling, energetic foundation that carries the songs forward with ease, and the hurdy-gurdy combines easily with this foundation to add a subtle, organic darkness to the proceedings. The crystal clear lead vocals of Maggie/Beth Sand serves as a stunning contrast to this darker backdrop, and complemented by flute, violin and harmonium in addition to what I though sounded like emulated bag pipes, additional acoustic and electronic percussion, layered harmony vocals and chants this all combines into a stunningly hypnotic end product. Kind of like a futuristic medieval landscape if you like, intense and driven in a good way and without the need for any dramatic effects to maintain tension and attention.

When that is said, this isn't an album of 160 BPM rhythms backing a female vocalist and Celtic inspired folk details. The landscapes explored are varied, and in terms of variation in intensity, the use of sparse arrangements and dreamladen interludes, as well as elongated passages and songs settling at a slower pace, a band like aforementioned Ozric Tentacles is a fair comparison, and Serpentyne doesn't ever kick off into a breakneck speed oriented affair. That the rhythms are techno-inspired doesn't mean that they are techno, to specify that, but that there's some techno or house music that is a likely source of inspiration be it directly or indirectly. The folk music details aren't limited to the generic Celtic either, as both Irish, Scandinavian and Middle Eastern inspired textures and sounds are applied, alongside a few that to my ears sounds just as English Earl Grey tea.

All in all a very well made production, without any weak spots as such as I experience this album. A highly compelling and hypnotic affair that should have a broad appeal across most demographics. As far as a key audience is concerned, I'd guess that those who enjoy folk and world music just as much as bands such as Ozric Tentacles might be at the heart of it, alongside those with a general interest in bands described as neo folk.

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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