Serpentine - 'A Touch Of Heaven' (AOR Heaven) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Dave Prince   
Thursday, 04 March 2010 07:30

serpentineRight, I'm going to say this straight away - this album is AMAZING! There, I've said it.


Back to the matter in hand, here is the band that were to form around the nucleus of award winning keyboard maestro Gareth David Noon, lion-maned guitarist Christopher Gould and bassist Gareth Vanstone. After shopping a set of vocal-less demos they caught the attention of Greg Flores (Kamera); it was these new recordings that gained them a great deal of interest. However a US based singer was proving a lot of hassle. Enter Tony Mills (Shy/TNT).

This long player was recorded during the summer of 2009 with Mark V Stuart (Magnum) who, along with Sheena Sear, has produced an album that eventually got the band signed to the legen-wait-for-it-dary AOR Heaven label.

Kicking straight in with title track 'A Touch Of Heaven' which I feel would have been better served if the keyboard intro was an actual separate track as, coming in at just over six minutes, it feels just a little bit too long. That's not to take away from the track at all though as, in this day and age, the song writing skill shown here is unbelievable! Lead single and recently released promo video is 'Whatever Heartache' which the internet buzz on the band has likened to Shy (too easy a comparison); to these ears I hear FM/Eyewitness as well. Yes, the vocals are unmistakably Tony Mills which will always bring Shy to everyone's mind, but this is so much more. The keyboard intro alone is majestic, and the fretwork is very impressive so kudos to Chris Gould and John Clews.

Another track that stands out is 'For The Love Of It All' which is a mid paced rocker/ballad which deals with the journey that every musician takes and that the hard work and toil is worth it, to be able to perform music and the adoration of fans that makes all the lows worth it.

Believe me when I say/type this - there is not a duff track on this release. The band managed to take a piece of every AOR masterpiece and blend it into something new, fresh and contemporary. One of the songs that I wanted to hear was 'We Belong' as I had heard the vocal-less demo and was interested in hearing what the finished product would be like - I was amazed!

If I have one niggle it's the cover at the end of the album, Toni Braxton's 'Unbreak My Heart', which is a great song, and this version is great, but why? Surely another original would have made more sense. Tony Mills' vocals on this track are goose bump inducing. As with every song on the album, he has taken a great song and made it majestic!

Now the band needs to prove themselves on the live circuit and build on this solid foundation. With their already great management and a label willing to push, this band will go far. 'A Touch Of Heaven' is already in my top 5 albums for 2010. The only other contenders are the new Journey and FM releases. Yes, that's how great this album and band are! So go out there and get touched by a piece of heaven courtesy of Serpentine.