SERPENTINE

Country United Kingdom

Style AOR/Hard Rock

905975_10153066606051354_5545995603373666200_oThe bands origins can be traced to Cardiff, where in 2007 keyboard player Gareth David Noon and bassist Gareth Vanstone were introduced to guitarist, Chris Gould and a songwriting partnership was formed. For a period of around twelve months, the band forged ahead recording demos with American vocalist Greg Flores (formerly of the Indiana-based AOR band Kamera) before parting ways due to distance related issues. The trio’s attempts to find a suitable replacement vocalist based in the UK proved troublesome until the band were put into contact with Birmingham based singer Tony Mills, whose reputation with other melodic rock acts such as Shy and TNT made him an obvious choice for the band.

With a vast catalogue of demos already recorded during the band’s stint with Flores, the four set about creating a new collection of songs in the beginning of 2009 for what would become their 2010 debut album “A Touch Of Heaven”. Around this time, two additional members were recruited – guitarist John Clews and drummer Charlie Skeggs – to round out the line-up for the recordings, made at M2 Studios and produced by Sheena Sear and Mark Stuart, a well known British producer having worked with Hard Rock act Magnum as well as rock icons such as Robert Plant and Phil Lynott.

Serpentine subsequently inked deals with German based label AOR Heaven and the Japanese label Marquee/Avalon and the album was released in March of 2010 to much critical acclaim, especially in Japan where the band hit number 72 on the HMV chart as well as scoring a 92% review in the rock magazine Burrn!. Prior to the album’s release, the band confirmed that they had parted ways with young drummer Charlie Skeggs who was replaced in December 2010 for the video for “Whatever Heartache”, shot at the Victoria Baths in Manchester, by Birmingham-based drummer Roy Millward.

In 2011  they have returned with their second studio album “Living & dying in high definition”, a follow up to their 2010 debut “A touch of heaven”. The line up has remained unchanged featuring guitarists Christopher Gould and John Clews, keyboardist Gareth David Noon, drummer Charlie Skeggs, bassist Gareth Vanstone and veteran singer Tony Mills. It has been decided that “Living…” would be the last album to feature Mills fronting the young band, and his replacement has been found in Matt Black, already a touring member of “Serpentine”.

In comparison to its predecessor, “Living…” is a considerable step ahead for the band, putting across a substantially heavier sound, moving from subtle AOR to melodic hard rock. Clearly the protagonist instrument is the twin guitar formation and though keyboards establish just as clear a presence as before, their role is mainly complementary. Songs like “Philadelphia”, “Dreamer”, “Cry” and “Heartbreak Town” are intense melodic hard rockers built on a sequence of infectious vocal and instrumental harmonies.

As a whole “Living…” has a similar essence to Tony’s early works with “Shy” though to be fair “Serpentine” seem to be in the process of establishing an identifiable sound of their own. Indeed “Serpentine’s second album is another step up the melodic rock ladder delivering a good handful of heavy melodic rock tunes.

2015 is the release of “Circle of Knives”, the third album from Serpentine and the first one without vocalist Tony Mills at the helm. This time around we have singer Adam Payne whose voice is very reminiscent of Ten’s Gary Hughes, who in fact produced this record, and the songs have a very Ten vibe to them as well.

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– A Touch Of Heaven [2010]
– Living And Dying In High Definition [2011]
– Circle Of Knives [2015]

 

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