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'Circle Of Knives'
(AOR Heaven)
Out Now

Johnny Main

johnny main


Melodic hard rock band Serpentine have been around in one form or another for the past eight years and since releasing their debut album, 'A Touch Of Heaven', in 2010, the band have been steadily building a reputation on the live circuit with help from annual tours around the UK as well as support slots with Romeo's Daughter and FM, not to mention successful appearances at the likes of Hard Rock Hell and Firefest.

The band's previous album, 'Living & Dying In High Definition', was released in 2011 and was to signal a change in the bands fortunes – both on and off stage. After an incredibly successful tour to promote the release, the front man and bass player decided to part ways with the band, and rather than lose the momentum that had been built up with the previous release, the band set about finding replacements as quickly as possible. It was shortly after, that Adam Payne was installed as the new front man with Owen Crawford taking up bass guitar duties.

It's always difficult for a band to change vocalists, but with Payne, Serpentine seem to have chosen exactly the right man for the job and now it's time for the band to step back out of the shadows and into the limelight for the next stage in their career, as they unleash album number three – 'Circle Of Knives'.

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The ten track opus runs to just under an hour, and I have to say that it's a thoroughly enjoyable listen. For me, the best track on the album, by a country mile, is 'Bleed'. It's the albums big ballad with the intro consisting of only a lyrical guitar intro and piano before a soft vocal performance from Payne begins.

It's not the happiest of subject matter, of course, but the song is played out with power and passion as Payne gives one of his best performances of the album. The track is backed up with a simple and solid drum beat as the piano and guitar chords blend together seamlessly. The guitar solo from Chris Gould too, is thoughtful and measured as the song reaches its climax and Gould should be justifiably proud of his solo.

Of course, this isn't the be all and end all of the album. Other highlights include 'La Tragedienne' which has a great guitar intro from Gould before the tempo settles down to a good mid-paced number. The guitar riff is placed at the back of the mix giving Payne and keyboard player, Gareth David Noon, the chance to shine. Again, there's a great vocal performance from Payne, making this another firm favourite of mine already.


'Where Does Your Heart Beat Now' features a keyboard intro that builds and builds up before the sound is pared right back to keyboard stabs and cymbals as the first verse, before the main guitar sets the songs tempo. It's another solid track and it's a good mid-paced number that isn't unlikeable with its bouncy beat and devilishly catchy chorus. Gould's guitar solo here is really one of his best as it drives the middle part up to a crescendo.

'Circle of Knives' was well chosen as the title track as it's another real highlight on the album. Guitar solo here from Gould is one of this best and Payne puts on an equally strong performance. It'll be interesting to see if this track stays in their live set list, because it deserves to be a permanent fixture and promises to be a highlight of their live shows.

All in all, though, it seems like the band have settled in well with Payne and Crawford who have reinvigorated the band. With their tour diary slowly but surely filling up, let's hope they keep their new found momentum going and build on the success that this album must surely give them.

You can hear a teaser for the 'Circle Of Knives' album here:

You can see Serpentine live here:
Saturday 27th June – The Scene, Swansea

'Circle Of Knives' Tracklist:
Season of the Witch
La Tragedienne
The Hardest Fall
Where Does Your Heart Beat Now?
Bound By The Strings of Discord
Circle of Knives
Such A Long Way Down
Suicide Days

Serpentine are:
Adam Payne – Vocals
Chris Gould – Guitars
Owen Crawford – Bass Guitar
Gareth David Noon – Keyboards
Roy Millward – Drums

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