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Serpentyne - The Serpent's Kiss CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.48 | 4 ratings

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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.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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