Described by the press as ‘one of the most impressive new names on the melodic rock radar’ this young, rock quintet are riding a resurgence in AOR/Melodic rock, and what a resurgence it is, there are so many good bands out there at the moment, and Serpentine are one of them.
Originally founded in Wales around the talents of keyboard player Gareth David Noon, guitarist Christopher Gould and bassist Gareth Vanstone, they released their debut cd last year, “A touch of heaven” with Tony Mills on vocals.
They have recently completed a highly successful tour of the UK (with Matt Black fronting ) alongside Crash Diet and Houston, ending with a triumphant night at London’s Islington O2 Academy. Classic Rock Magazine commented: ‘Introducing a couple of impressive-sounding new songs, “Philadelphia” and “Cry”, they cruised through the cream of the debut leaving the audience drooling.
This new cd “Living & Dying In High Definition” carries on from the debut, with lush keyboards, soaring melodies, and stunning guitar work, with Tony Mills once again fronting.
So who is Matt Black I hear you ask ???
In case people are wondering what the hell is going on, Tony is the singer on the cd, but not the singer in the band, that job falls to Matt Black.
Tony left Serpentine shortly after the release of the 1st cd, due to health reasons, but did eventually finish the recording of “Living & Dying In High Definition”. So in the meantime Serpentine recruited Matt as his replacement to allow the band to commence touring to support the A Touch Of Heaven album.
Tony has since made a full recovery and is now very much a part of TNT.
So back to the cd: is it any good ?
The songs on this cd are mesmerizing, uplifting, with powerful ballads, and guitar driven rock songs, all these come with killer hooks and choruses, a real kick up the backside for other luke warm aor bands, take note, this is how it should be done. The production handled by Sheena Sear, who has worked with Magnum, is crystal clear. Multilayered keyboards and melodies shine throughout, with the guitar parts powering through when needed. It leaves you wanting more, a real tour de force.
A lush keyboard/piano intro opens the first song on this cd, soon joined by Tony’s soaring vocals, quickly followed by a cool riff from Chris. A very strong up tempo opener.
“Philadelphia” follows and is another upbeat song, this song just oozes class.
“Dreamer” is very much built from the same mould, upbeat, with a catchy chorus.
“Love is blue” slows things down a bit, a love song written in the classic AOR style.
“Where do we go from here”, “Cry” and “Best days of our lives” are next up, and show Serpentines effortless song writing skills, all great catchy tunes.
“Heartbreak town” is another up tempo song, with some great moody keyboard work form Gareth, some great solo guitar work from Chris, serious bass riffs from Gareth, and some great pounding from Roy on the drums. This is a song with a chorus that will stick in your head long after the song has finished.
“Nuremberg” is perhaps my least favorite song on this cd, yet it is still another song as catchy as hell, it just suffers from being sandwiched between “Heartbreak town” and, for me, the best song on the album, the closing track “Forgotten heroes”, which is a massive slice of AOR, easily their best song, ever.
There’s 10 songs on this cd, and i normally complain about this, but with some of these song running in at over 6 minutes long, and no three minute wonders, there’s no complaints from me this time.
Tony has left a big hole to fill, but having seen Serpentine live, Matt is more than capable of filling the great man’s boots, im expecting the next Serpentine record to be equally as massive.
On a side note, Matt is busy recording material for his solo album, and writing new songs for Serpentine’s 3rd album. The new album “Living & Dying In High Definition” is soon to be released in Japan and across Europe. This album features Tony Mills of TNT and SHY on vocals but Matt is featured on the Japanese bonus track singing a new version of “Lonely Nights” from the 1st Serpentine album.
That song can be watched on Youtube below.
Matt Black – Vocals
Chris Gould – Lead and Rhythm Guitar
Gareth David Noon – Keyboards
Gareth Vanstone – Bass Guitar
Roy Millward – Drums
01 Deep down (There’s a price for love) 6:03
02 Philadelphia 5:13
03 Dreamer 4:52
04 Love is blue 5:22
05 Where do we go form here 5:40
06 Cry 4:48
07 Best days of our lives 4:41
08 Heartbreak town 5:03
09 Nuremberg 5:46
10 Forgotten heroes 6:23
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A massive 9/10
Catch Serpentine at the Firefest Festival, in October, Nottingham, Here
Myspace website is Here
Matt Blacks website is Here