|Serpentine - 'Living And Dying In High Definition' (AOR Heaven)|
|Written by David Prince|
|Monday, 05 September 2011 06:00|
Where do I start with an album as great as this? This is the million dollar question I am faced with when writing this review. I could say that the band's growth has been phenomenal - how can any band deliver more after such a fantastic debut? - and, plain and simple, the band have possibly given us the best album of their career!!!
Reuniting with Tony Mills, Messrs Noon, Gould, Vanstone and Millward have created an exciting sophomore album that blows the debut out of the water! From the opening of 'Deep Down (There's A Price For Love)' the band have trimmed the fat from their sound and developed a harder edge whilst still giving fans of the debut everything they could possibly want and more. Seriously the guitar licks pouring from Chris Gould's fingertips are glorious molten metal, and when mixed with the luscious keyboard tapestries of Gareth David Noon create a sound that most bands would die for, and all this from the first song...
Next up is 'Philadelphia' which was previewed on their recent tour with Crashdiet, Houston and Miss Behaviour. The song sounds immense and the vocals sound amazing, to these ears Tony has never sounded better than he does on this album. The man has always had a set of amazing pipes but here he goes above and beyond the call of duty and in doing so raises the bar for the rest of the band.
'Dreamer' is the third song and the band get down and dirty with a storming riff that will no doubt level live audiences across the world. Is it me or did the band deliver on all accounts and then some? There is also a Radio Mix, tagged onto the end of the Japanese edition, which still sounds impressive! Although I would love to hear it on the local radio station I doubt I ever will.
As per standard with most AOR releases there are a couple of ballads; 'Love Is Blue' is the first on offer and along with 'Where Do We Go From Here?' the band not only have gone down the heavier route but also matured as musicians as well. The musicianship not only on these songs but the album as a whole is amazing! The heartbreak coming from the lyrics, music - everything, showing how much the band has grown and evolved into a tight group capable of delivering the highest level of music EVER!
The highlight song of the album for me is the amazing 'Cry'. Seriously where the hell does this band pull these songs from? I literally was unable to pick my jaw from the floor until halfway through the next track 'Best Days Of Our Lives', which is another cracking tune!
A note must be given to the band's new singer Matt Black - this guy has stepped in to fulfil live duties and from the next album will take over full lead vocal duties, with Tony staying on a song-writing level. Honestly, this guy has massive shoes to fill but, with a pedigree of working with some of the top names in AOR, he and the band wouldn't have taken the risk if they weren't sure he could handle it! As a shout out and introduction to the new boy, the band have re-recorded a track from the amazing 'A Touch Of Heaven' and in 'Lonely Nights 2011', while not sounding much different from the original, shows a band hungry and chomping at the bit! Matt, you've got a massive job ahead of you and I'm really looking forward to watching you succeed and take the band to a higher level.